Observation of atomic speckle and Hanbury Brown-Twiss correlations in guided matter waves

R. G. Dall, S. S. Hodgman, A. G. Manning, M. T. Johnsson, K. G H Baldwin, A. G. Truscott

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Speckle patterns produced by multiple independent light sources are a manifestation of the coherence of the light field. Second-order correlations exhibited in phenomena such as photon bunching, termed the Hanbury Brown-Twiss effect, are a measure of quantum coherence. Here we observe for the first time atomic speckle produced by atoms transmitted through an optical waveguide, and link this to second-order correlations of the atomic arrival times. We show that multimode matter-wave guiding, which is directly analogous to multimode light guiding in optical fibres, produces a speckled transverse intensity pattern and atom bunching, whereas single-mode guiding of atoms that are output-coupled from a Bose-Einstein condensate yields a smooth intensity profile and a second-order correlation value of unity. Both first- and second-order coherence are important for applications requiring a fully coherent atomic source, such as squeezed-atom interferometry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number291
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


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