Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Yong P. Chen

Committee Chair

Yong P. Chen

Committee Member 1

Daniel S. Elliott

Committee Member 2

Chris H. Greene

Committee Member 3

Gabor A. Csathy


A central aim of this research is to study the dynamics of ultracold atoms in synthetic gauge fields. In this work, we developed a method to optimize the evaporation of ultracold atoms to the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) phase. We implement a model of atomic evaporation in a trapping potential, and we find optimal parameters for the trap depth and stiffness during evaporation. Using this model, we achieve a high efficiency of optical evaporation (γ eff = 4.0).^ Using that BEC, we study the dynamics of the BEC in various light-induced synthetic gauge fields. In particular, we have studied the transition between adiabatic and diabatic transport in a spin-orbit (SO) coupled BEC, and found the behavior to be well understood by the Landau-Zener (LZ) theory. Various parameters of the SO coupled BEC were explored, and we demonstrated the ability to use such LZ transitions as the basis of an atomic transistor.^ Finally, we created a novel type of 3π spin-orbit coupling for ultracold atoms using modulated Raman coupling. Using the 3π SO coupling eigenlevel structure, we observed a Stueckelberg type interference of the BEC. We developed a model of Stueckelberg type interferometers, and we were able to quantitatively account for the observed interference fringes.

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