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Research project selected under the 2022 call for proposals

Principal Investigator :  Bruno PEAUDECERF

Involved Teams :

  • LCAR

Type of project : Disruptive Project

Date (start/end) : 2021 – 2024

In this picture, each vertical row of dots corresponds to one experimental realization of the discrete momentum distribution of a Bose-Einstein condensate in an optical lattice, imaged on a camera. This momentum distribution can be engineered using optimal control [1]. Putting together images of the atoms from the 128 configurations of 7 dots provides us with a “BEC printer”

Cold atoms have for a long time proven their relevance to sensing and measurement, as the wave nature of ultracold matter allows for non-classical evolution and interference phenomena that can lead to enhanced sensitivity and accuracy. The field of optimal control, born in engineering, aims at optimizing the classical control applied on a system in order to achieve a goal with the highest efficiency. This leads naturally to the idea of combining these two tools, and investigating the benefits of optimal control in cold atoms for measurement and sensing.

In this project we will investigate the optimal control of ultracold atoms held in optical lattices for the purpose of sensing and characterization. We have recently demonstrated how optimized time variations of an optical lattice potential can help engineer the macroscopic matter wave of a Bose-Einstein condensate [1]. As the evolution of the wavefunction is strongly dependent on system parameters, we can also use the evolution of the matter wave as a sensitive measurement tool.

We aim to realize proof-of-principle experiments that demonstrate the performance of optimal control-based measurements for the local measurement of small forces in the lattice, the variations of lattice depth, both in time and frequency domains, the detection of lattice position drifts and the enhanced measurement of the momentum distribution in the lattice, which is inaccessible with conventional techniques.

The use of optimal control techniques in conjunction with the sensing capabilities of ultracold atoms systems has scarcely been explored, and the novel techniques developed in this project could benefit the wider fields of quantum metrology and quantum simulation.

[1] N. Dupont, et al., Quantum state control of a Bose-Einstein condensate in an optical lattice, PRX Quantum 2, 040303 (2021)