Optical Billiards: Controlling the
Dynamics of Atoms and Photons


Valery Milner
Queens College of the City University of New York

Until recently, the field of nonlinear, and generally chaotic, dynamics of billiards (i.e. particles or waves bouncing between sharp reflecting walls) developed separately from the area of atomic physics. Recent achievements in laser cooling and manipulating of atoms made it possible to "play pool" with neutral atoms, creating a new testing ground for classical and quantum chaos. Understanding the dynamics of chaotic billiards with novel properties, such as inter-billiard collisions or moving billiard walls, may prove useful in exploring new ways of controlling atoms and photons. In this talk, I will discuss the "proof of principle" experiments, and possible future directions of research in this new and exciting field.

©Copyright 1999 KSU Department of Physics