Volume 78, Number 1, April 2007
Article Number 10006
Number of page(s) 5
Section General
Published online 14 March 2007
EPL, 78 (2007) 10006
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/78/10006

Shot noise of interference between independent atomic systems

A. Polkovnikov

Department of Physics, Boston University - Boston, MA 02215, USA

received 4 December 2006; accepted in final form 13 February 2007; published April 2007
published online 14 March 2007

We study shot (counting) noise of the amplitude of interference between independent atomic systems. In particular, for the two interfering systems the variance of the fringe amplitude decreases as the inverse power of the number of particles per system with the coefficient being a non-universal number. This number depends on the details of the initial state of each system so that the shot noise measurements can be used to distinguish between such states. We explicitly evaluate this coefficient for the two cases of the interference between bosons in number states and in broken symmetry states. We generalize our analysis to the interference of multiple independent atomic systems. We show that the variance of the interference contrast vanishes as the inverse power of the number of the interfering systems. This result, implying high signal to noise ratio in the interference experiments, holds both for bosons and for fermions.

03.75.Dg - Atom and neutron interferometry.
03.75.Lm - Tunneling, Josephson effect, Bose-Einstein condensates in periodic potentials, solitons, vortices, and topological excitations.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007