Preparing and probing atomic number states with an atom interferometer
We describe the controlled loading and measurement of number-squeezed states and Poisson states of atoms in individual sites of a double well optical lattice. These states are input to an atom interferometer that is realized by symmetrically splitting individual lattice sites into double wells, allowing atoms in individual sites to evolve independently. The two paths then interfere, creating a matter-wave double-slit diffraction pattern. The time evolution of the double-slit diffraction pattern is used to measure the number statistics of the input state. The flexibility of our double well lattice provides a means to detect the presence of empty lattice sites, an important and so far unmeasured factor in determining the purity of a Mott state.