Spin transport in an ultra-cold trapped non-condensed 87rb gas

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Ultra-cold trapped gases
Spin transport
Spin diffusion

Ultra-cold trapped atoms, with their high degree of tunability, provide ideal model systems to study physical phenomena with applications in many different fields of research. This thesis describes studies on spin transport phenomenon in a trapped ultra-cold spin-polarized 87Rb gas at temperatures above quantum degeneracy. This work is focused on the less studied regime of cross-over between classical and quantum transport. Diffusion is a fundamental dissipative process that tends to relax any system towards a state of minimum inhomogeneity. In this work we study longitudinal spin diffusion as a special case of spin transport. The system studied here consists of two anti-parallel longitudinal spin domains separated by a helical domain-wall. We report that the diffusion process manifests a significant deviation from classical diffusion due to purely quantum mechanical modifications. The two-domain spin textures are prepared using optical and microwave pulse techniques, and the dynamics of the spin structure is studied as it relaxes towards the final equilibrium state. Generally, there is a wide range of parameter space that could be studied. In this work we focused our studies on the effects related to the degree of coherence in the domainwall as well as the effective magnetic field acting on the spins. By controllably tuning these experimental parameters, we studied in detail how the spatiotemporal behaviour of the diffusion dynamics is modified. Our results show that the longitudinal spin diffusion time scales depend sensitively on the domain-wall degree of coherence. External magnetic field gradients also alter the dynamics noticeably, manifesting a significant dependence on the sign of the applied field gradients.

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Jeffrey McGuirk
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.