Quantum chaos in atom optics

G. J. Milburn, S. Dyrting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I shall discuss the quantum and classical dynamics of a class of nonlinear Hamiltonian systems. The discussion will be restricted to systems with one degree of freedom. Such systems cannot exhibit chaos, unless the Hamiltonians are time dependent. Thus we shall consider systems with a potential function that has a higher than quadratic dependence on the position and, furthermore, we shall allow the potential function to be a periodic function of time. This is the simplest class of Hamiltonian system that can exhibit chaotic dynamics. I shall show how such systems can be realized in atom optics, where very cold atoms interact with optical dipole potentials of a far-off resonance laser. Such systems are ideal for quantum chaos studies as (i) the energy of the atom is small and action scales are of the order of Planck's constant, (ii) the systems are almost perfectly isolated from the decohering effects of the environment and (iii) optical methods enable exquisite time dependent control of the mechanical potentials seen by the atoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2023-2056
Number of pages34
JournalPhilosophical Magazine B: Physics of Condensed Matter; Statistical Mechanics, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Properties
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantum chaos in atom optics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this