Theory of atom-molecule Bose-Einstein condensate

Date of Completion

January 2002


Physics, Molecular|Physics, Atomic




A study of coherent photoassociation is presented for the case of an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate. It is shown that the phenomenon is analogous to coherent optical transient in a few-level system, with a difference that the participating levels have Bose enhanced populations. A second-quantized Hamiltonian in momentum and position representation is developed to describe photoassociation. A classical version of the field theory for atoms and molecules is used to demonstrate that in the presence of photoassociating light, a joint atom-molecule condensate is unstable against the growth of the density fluctuations. ^ A simple mean-field model of atom-molecule Bose-Einstein condensate is constructed and it is shown that in the model there is no collapse, irrespective of the sign of the effective atom-atom scattering length. The properties of the two most important eigenstates, the ground state and the twin state, are determined for different values of the system parameters δ and K, the detuning and the atom-molecule coupling, respectively. It is shown that in a coupled atom-molecule system a collapse is replaced by a dynamical instability. The lines in the parameter space where these instabilities occur are in fact fractures where the underlying eigenstates discontinuously change. The features of instability are in good qualitative agreement with the experimental observations of collapse. ^