We investigate an attractive force caused by light induced dipole-dipole interactions in freely expanding ultracold 87Rb atoms. This collective, light-triggered effect results in a self-confining potential with interesting features: it exhibits nonlocal properties, is attractive for both red and blue-detuned light fields and induces a remarkably strong force that depends on the gradient of the atomic density. The experimental data are discussed in the framework of a theoretical model based on a local-field approach for the light scattered by the atomic cloud.
M. Maiwöger, M. Sonnleitner, T. Zhang, I. Mazets, M. Mallweger, D. Rätzel, F. Borselli, S. Erne, J. Schmiedmayer, P. Haslinger, “Observation of Light-Induced Dipole-Dipole Forces in Ultracold Atomic Gases”, arXiv:2202.00562 (2022).
Related to Project A03