Finite-temperature coherence of the ideal Bose gas in an optical lattice

Gevorg Muradyan, James R. Anglin
2008 Physical Review A. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics  
In current experiments with cold quantum gases in periodic potentials, interference fringe contrast is typically the easiest signal in which to look for effects of non-trivial many-body dynamics. In order better to calibrate such measurements, we analyse the background effect of thermal decoherence as it occurs in the absence of dynamical interparticle interactions. We study the effect of optical lattice potentials, as experimentally applied, on the condensed fraction of a non-interacting Bose
more » ... as in local thermal equilibrium at finite temperatures. We show that the experimentally observed decrease of the condensate fraction in the presence of the lattice can be attributed, up to a threshold lattice height, purely to ideal gas thermodynamics; conversely we confirm that sharper decreases in first-order coherence observed in stronger lattices are indeed attributable to many-body physics. Our results also suggest that the fringe visibility 'kinks' observed in F.Gerbier et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 050404 (2005) may be explained in terms of the competition between increasing lattice strength and increasing mean gas density, as the gaussian profile of the red-detuned lattice lasers also increases the effective strength of the harmonic trap.
doi:10.1103/physreva.78.053628 fatcat:d6qoyp4atvff5m23mbcl7kyiqu