Nonlinear atom optics: General formalism and atomic solitons

G. Lenz, P. Meystre, E. M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


We present a many-body theory of nonlinear atom optics, and discuss some of its physical implications in the coherent regime. Considering a system of N identical two-level atoms interacting with classical and quantum-mechanical electromagnetic fields, we derive a Fock-space many-particle master equation. Introducting a Bogoliubov-Born-Green-Kirkwood-Yvon hierarchy and a Hartree-Fock factorization to truncate this hierarchy, we obtain an effective nonlinear single-particle master equation that forms the basis of nonlinear atom optics. In the second part of the paper, we concentrate on the coherent part of that master equation, and derive an effective single-atom nonlinear Schrödinger equation. This equation leads to the prediction of a number of effects, and, in particular, several kinds of atomic solitons. We discuss and numerically study two such kinds of solitons, Thirring solitons and gap solitons. Finally, the axial containment of an atomic gap soliton is illustrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1681-1691
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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