Observation of nonspreading wave packets in an imaginary potential

R. Stutzle, M.C. Gobel, T. Horner, E. Kierig, I. Mourachko, M.K. Oberthaler, M.A. Efremov, M.V. Fedorov, V.P. Yakovlev, K.A.H. van Leeuwen, W.P. Schleich

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We propose and experimentally demonstrate a method to prepare a nonspreading atomic wave packet. Our technique relies on a spatially modulated absorption constantly chiseling away from an initially broad de Broglie wave. The resulting contraction is balanced by dispersion due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. This quantum evolution results in the formation of a nonspreading wave packet of Gaussian form with a spatially quadratic phase. Experimentally, we confirm these predictions by observing the evolution of the momentum distribution. Moreover, by employing interferometric techniques, we measure the predicted quadratic phase across the wave packet. Nonspreading wave packets of this kind also exist in two space dimensions and we can control their amplitude and phase using optical elements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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