Volume 83, Number 5, September 2008
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics|
|Published online||28 August 2008|
SUPA, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University - Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK, EU
2 Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy of Vilnius University - A. Gostauto 12, 01108 Vilnius, Lithuania, EU
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 16 July 2008
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.
PACS: 42.50.Gy – Effects of atomic coherence on propagation, absorption, and amplification of light; electromagnetically induced transparency and absorption / 03.75.-b – Matter waves / 37.10.De – Atom cooling methods
© EPLA, 2008
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