State preparation and dynamics of ultracold atoms in higher lattice orbitals

Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Nov 16;99(20):200405. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.99.200405. Epub 2007 Nov 16.


We report on the realization of a multiorbital system with ultracold atoms in the excited bands of a 3D optical lattice by selectively controlling the band population along a given lattice direction. The lifetime of the atoms in the excited band is found to be considerably longer (10-100 times) than the characteristic time scale for intersite tunneling, thus opening the path for orbital selective many-body physics with ultracold atoms. Upon exciting the atoms from an initial lowest band Mott-insulating state to higher lying bands, we observe the dynamical emergence of coherence in 1D (and 2D), compatible with Bose-Einstein condensation to a nonzero momentum state.