Distributed quasi-Bragg beam splitter in crossed atomic waveguides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Vera Guarrera
  • Richard Moore
  • Alexander Bunting
  • Thomas Vanderbruggen
  • Yuri Ovchinnikov

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • National Physical Laboratory
  • University of Liverpool


We perform an experimental and theoretical study of a novel distributed quasi-Bragg splitter for cold atoms propagating in crossed optical waveguides. The atoms are guided by horizontal red-detuned laser beams which cross with an angle of roughly 90°. The lattice formed by the interference between the two waveguides is used as a quasi-Bragg splitter to continuously deflect the atomic flux from one waveguide into the other. In the limit of strong waveguide confinement and depending on the velocity of the cloud, three main regimes are observed corresponding (1) to the absence of reflection, (2) to partial reflection and (3) to full reflection into the second waveguide. In view of the application to atom interferometry, the condition to split the cloud into mainly two equally-populated fragments is only met in the highest velocity regime, where the fraction of reflected and transmitted atoms can be controlled by tuning the lattice height. A diagnostic of the momentum distribution shows that a quasi-Bragg splitter with the occupation of mainly two momentum states is achieved in this regime. This behaviour can be understood by considering the band structure associated with the potential in the crossing region and agrees with numerical simulations of the atomic dynamics.


Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number4749
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2017