The realization of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute atomic gases opens an exciting way to quantum mechanics and begins a new area of quantum simulation. As a macroscopic quantum object and a many-body bosonic system, the Bose-Einstein condensates can show numerous exotic quantum effects and have naturally attracted great attention. One of the simplest quantum many-body systems to be realized experimentally and studied theoretically is ultra-cold atoms in a double-well potential. This system can exhibit a great variety of quantum interference phenomena such as tunneling oscillation, self-trapping and the entanglement of macroscopic superpositions. Specifically, the double-well potentials built by optical or magnetic fields are easy to change and the many-body interaction between ultra-cold atoms can be changed by the method of Feshbach resonance, enabling the precise quantum control of the double-well dynamics of the condensates.
In the present work, we study the dynamics of a condensate in a trapping potential consisting of an unalterable double-well trap and an additional moving optical lattice. If the lattice space is much smaller than the size of the double-well trap, the system can be simplified into a double-well trapped condensate with a tunable effective mass. Using the mean-field factorization assumption, together with a two-mode approximation, we obtain the analytic expressions for the dependence of the tunneling rate and the self-collision strength on the effective mass. The tunneling rate decays and the collision strength grows up with the increase of the effective mass. As a consequence of their different changes, we conclude that the adjustment of the effective mass of the ultra-cold atoms, rather than the changing of the trap barrier or adjusting of the atomic scattering length, is an alternative approach to controlling the double-well dynamics of the condensate. Via numerical simulations of the mean-field dynamical equations with some realistic parameters, we show that a transition between the quantum coherent tunneling and the self-trapping behaviors is experimentally realizable with the mass-control approach. Specifically, we show that the approach is still valid for the case of negative mass. Moreover, we find that the negative-mass case can be used even to stimulate the double-well dynamics of the condensate with a negative atomic scattering length.
Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11574086, 91436211, 11234003), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFA0302001), the Major Research Plan of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 11654005), and the Shanghai Rising-Star Program, China (Grant No. 16QA1401600).