Probing matter-field and atom-number correlations in optical lattices by global nondestructive addressing


We show that light scattering from an ultracold gas reveals not only density correlations, but also matter-field interference at its shortest possible distance in an optical lattice, which defines key properties such as tunneling and matter-field phase gradients. This signal can be enhanced by concentrating probe light between lattice sites rather than at density maxima. As addressing between two single sites is challenging, we focus on global nondestructive scattering, allowing probing order parameters, matter-field quadratures, and their squeezing. The scattering angular distribution displays peaks even if classical diffraction is forbidden and we derive generalized Bragg conditions. Light scattering distinguishes all phases in the Mott insulator–superfluid–Bose glass phase transition.

Physical Review A