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Bose-Einstein condensation in large time-averaged optical ring potentials

T A Bell, J A P Glidden, L Humbert, M W J Bromley, S A Haine, M J Davis, T W Neely, M A Baker and H Rubinsztein-Dunlop

Interferometric measurements with matter waves are established techniques for sensitive gravimetry, rotation sensing, and measurement of surface interactions, but compact interferometers will require techniques based on trapped geometries. In a step towards the realization of matter wave interferometers in toroidal geometries, we produce a large, smooth ring trap for Bose-Einstein condensates using rapidly scanned time-averaged dipole potentials. The trap potential is smoothed to less than 1% peak-to-peak using the atomic density as input to an optical intensity correction algorithm, with a maximum ring diameter of 300 μm demonstrated. We experimentally observe and simulate the dispersion of condensed atoms in the resulting potential, with good agreement serving as an indication of trap smoothness. Under time of flight expansion we observe low energy phonon excitations in the ring, which serves to constrain the lower frequency limit of the scanned potential technique. The resulting ring potential will have applications as a waveguide for atom interferometry and studies of superfluidity.