In June 10th 1999, the Rubidium BEC1 apparatus produced the first italian Bose-Einstein condensate. We soon focused our activity on the study of a quantum gas of 87Rb bosons in optical lattices, investigating static and dynamic properties and enlightening the role of different kinds of instabilities. The last part of the activity was concentrated on the study of the superfluid to Mott insulator transition (also adding disorder and “quasi-disorder”) and on the physics of low-dimensional bosonic gases, characterized by measuring the excitation spectrum of these systems through inelastic light scattering. The BEC1 experiment retired in 2014 after 15 years of activity. We would like to thank all the people – students, technicians, and researchers – who have contributed to these exciting fifteen years of activity.

A Bose-Einstein condensate in a random potential

We have performed pioneering investigations of a Bose-Einstein condensate in a random potential, produced by shining an optical speckle pattern onto the atoms. We have investigated both static and dynamic properties of the BEC in the presence of disorder. With small levels of disorder, stripes are observed in the expanded density profile and strong damping of dipole and quadrupole oscillations is seen. By studying the propagation of the BEC in a disordered waveguide, we have evidenced a strong suppression of mass transport as the speckle potential is increased. The experimental results are in good agreement with numerical calculations based on the Gross-Pitaevskii equation.

J. E. Lye et al.
Bose-Einstein Condensate in a Random Potential
Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 070401 (2005)

C. Fort et al.
Effect of Optical Disorder and Single Defects on the Expansion of a Bose-Einstein Condensate in a One-Dimensional Waveguide
Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 170410 (2005)

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