Rotating a Bose-Einstein condensate using photons with orbital angular momentum

Kristian Helmerson, Mikkel F. Andersen, Changhyun Ryu, Pierre Cladé, Vasant Natarajan, Alipasha Vaziri, Azure Hansen, William D. Phillips

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We demonstrate the coherent transfer of the orbital angular momentum of a photon to an atom in quantized units of ℏ, using a 2-photon stimulated Raman process with Laguerre-Gaussian beams to generate an atomic vortex state in a Bose-Einstein condensate of sodium atoms. We show that the process is coherent by creating superpositions of different vortex states, where the relative phase between the states is determined by the relative phases of the optical fields. Furthermore, we create vortices of charge 2 by transferring to each atom the orbital angular momentum of two photons. We subsequently use our technique to induce rotation of the condensate confined in an asymmetric, ring-shaped hybrid optical and magnetic trap. We observe the cloud rotating for up to 13 seconds, due to the superfluid character of the condensate.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III - San Diego, United States of America
Duration: 13 Aug 200617 Aug 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Diego


  • Bose-Einstein condensate
  • Orbital angular momentum
  • Photon
  • Rotational state
  • Supercurrent
  • Superfluid

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