Expansion of matter waves in static and driven periodic potentials

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We study the nonequilibrium dynamics of cold atoms held in an optical lattice subjected to a periodic driving potential. The expansion of an initially confined atom cloud occurs in two phases: an initial quadratic expansion followed by a ballistic behavior at long times. Accounting for this gives a good description of recent experimental results and provides a robust method to extract the effective intersite tunneling from time-of-flight measurements.
©2010 The American Physical Society. This research was supported by the Acción Integrada/ Azioni Integrate scheme (Spain/Italy). The authors also acknowledge support from the Spanish MICINN through Grant No. FIS-2007-65723 and the Ramón y Cajal program (CEC).We thank H. Lignier, C. Sias,Y. Singh, and A. Zenesini for assistance with the experiments.
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