22 September, 2006
Current ACQAO student Andy Ferris won the prize for Best Physics Poster
at the School of Physical Sciences Research Higher Degree Student Poster
Day, where all current PhD students beyond their first year present their
work. He won $500 towards conference travel from the School.
The poster was entitled "Entanglement of Atoms: Four-wave mixing in
optical lattices." The poster outlines the analysis of an experiment
proposed to narrow the gap between the microscopic, quantum world and the
macroscopic, classical world.
In the experiment, a Bose-Einstein condensate is used to create a source
of entangled atoms. The entanglement is generated using a four-wave
mixing process that occurs when lasers are shone through the condensate
creating an "optical lattice". The greatest difficulty is in detecting
the presence of entanglement. Future work will determine if the proposed
method will be practical in a realistic experiment.
There has been much debate over the applicability of quantum mechanics in
the macroscopic world for the better part of the last century. A
fundamental test would be the demonstration of entanglement between
macroscopic objects. If the proposed experiment was successful, we would
be one step closer to this goal.