Abstract

In direct analogy to the textbook example of light guided in a few-mode fiber (FMF), we report the observation of the first excited mode of an optically guided atomic beam. We selectively excite the atomic analog of the LP01 optical mode by controlling the energy distribution of ultracold atoms loaded into the guide, resulting in a modal structure dominated by a 47(2)% population in the first excited transverse mode. The ability to guide lower-order modes has been essential to demonstrating optical effects such as multimode interferometry, slow light, and entanglement, and an atomic analog to a FMF may lead to similarly useful applications.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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