Atomic zitterbewegung

M. Merkl, F. E. Zimmer, G. Juzeliunas, Patrik Ohberg

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Ultracold atoms which are subject to ultra-relativistic dynamics are investigated. By using optically induced gauge potentials we show that the dynamics of the atoms is governed by a Dirac-type equation. To illustrate this we study the trembling motion of the centre of mass for an effective two-level system, historically called Zitterbewegung. Its origin is described in detail, where in particular the role of the finite width of the atomic wave packets is seen to induce a damping of both the centre of mass dynamics and the dynamics of the populations of the two levels. © Europhysics Letters Association.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54002
JournalEurophysics Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2008

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    Merkl, M., Zimmer, F. E., Juzeliunas, G., & Ohberg, P. (2008). Atomic zitterbewegung. Europhysics Letters, 83(5), [54002].