We study Kapitza-Dirac diffraction of a Bose-Einstein condensate from a standing light wave for a square pulse with variable pulse length but constant pulse area. We find that for sufficiently weak pulses, the usual analytical short-pulse prediction for the Raman-Nath regime continues to hold for longer times, albeit with a reduction of the apparent modulation depth of the standing wave. We quantitatively relate this effect to the Fourier width of the pulse, and draw analogies to the Rabi dynamics of a coupled two-state system. Our findings, combined with numerical modeling for stronger pulses, are of practical interest for the calibration of optical lattices in ultracold atomic systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics