Optical excitations in a Bose gas are demonstrated to be sensitive to many-body effects. At low temperature the momentum relaxation is provided by momentum exchange collisions, rather than by elastic collisions. A collective excitation mode forms, which in a nondegenerate gas is manifest in a collision shift and dramatic narrowing of spectral lines. In the Bose-Einstein condensate state, each spectral line splits into two components. The doubling of the optical excitations results from the physics analogous to that of the second sound. We present a theory of the line doubling, and calculate optical absorption spectrum for a uniform density system.
- Received 17 December 1998
- Published in the issue dated 5 July 1999
© 1999 The American Physical Society