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Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Oct 14;117(16):163003. Epub 2016 Oct 14.

Competition between Spin Echo and Spin Self-Rephasing in a Trapped Atom Interferometer.

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SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, LNE, 61 Avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France.
Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, CNRS UMR 8502, Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91405 Orsay Cedex, France.
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de la Matière Condensée, CNRS UMR 7600, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France.


We perform Ramsey interferometry on an ultracold ^{87}Rb ensemble confined in an optical dipole trap. We use a π pulse set at the middle of the interferometer to restore the coherence of the spin ensemble by canceling out phase inhomogeneities and creating a spin echo in the contrast. However, for high atomic densities, we observe the opposite behavior: the π pulse accelerates the dephasing of the spin ensemble leading to a faster contrast decay of the interferometer. We understand this phenomenon as a competition between the spin-echo technique and an exchange-interaction driven spin self-rephasing mechanism based on the identical spin rotation effect. Our experimental data are well reproduced by a numerical model.

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