Abstract:
The quest for Anderson localization of light is at the center of many experimental and the- oretical activities. Atomic vapors play a particular role in this research field, as they show a number of specific properties which makes them quite different from other materials used to look for Anderson localization. The very narrow resonance of the atomic line, the mechanical effects of the light on the atoms and the potential for quantum features with of these scatter- ers calls for more detailed analysis of the behavior of light in large and dense samples of cold atoms.

Abstract:
We realize a laser with a cloud of cold rubidium atoms as gain medium, placed in a low-finesse cavity. Three different regimes of laser emission are observed corresponding respectively to Mollow, Raman and Four Wave Mixing mechanisms. We measure an output power of up to 300 $\mu$W and present the main properties of these different lasers in each regime.

Abstract:
We have observed self-sustained radial oscillations in a large magneto-optical trap (MOT), containing up to $10^{10}$ Rb$^{85}$ atoms. This instability is due to the competition between the confining force of the MOT and the repulsive interaction associated with multiple scattering of light inside the cold atomic cloud. A simple analytical model allows us to formulate a criterion for the instability threshold, in fair agreement with our observations. This criterion shows that large numbers of trapped atoms $N>10^9$ are required to observe this unstable behavior.

Abstract:
Quantum information processing often uses systems with dipolar interactions. We use a nuclear spin-based quantum simulator, to study the spreading of information in such a dipolar-coupled system and how perturbations to the dipolar couplings limit the spreading, leading to localization. In [Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 230403 (2010)], we found that the system reaches a dynamic equilibrium size, which decreases with the square of the perturbation strength. Here, we study the impact of a disordered Hamiltonian with dipolar 1/r^3 interactions. We show that the expansion of the coherence length of the cluster size of the spins becomes frozen in the presence of large disorder, reminiscent of Anderson localization of non-interacting waves in a disordered potential.

Abstract:
We investigate the scaling behavior of a very large magneto-optical trap (VLMOT) containing up to $1.4 \times 10^{11}$ Rb$^{87}$ atoms. By varying the diameter of the trapping beams, we are able to change the number of trapped atoms by more than 5 orders of magnitude. We then study the scaling laws of the loading and size of the VLMOT, and analyze the shape of the density profile in this regime where the Coulomb-like, light-mediated repulsive interaction between atoms is expected to play an important role.

Abstract:
We study the center-of-mass motion in systems of trapped interacting particles with space- and velocity-dependent friction and anharmonic traps. Our approach, based on a dynamical ansatz assuming a fixed density profile, allows us to obtain information at once for a wide range of binary interactions and interaction strengths, at linear and nonlinear levels. Our findings are first tested on different simple models by comparison with direct numerical simulations. Then, we apply the method to characterize the motion of the center of mass of a magneto-optical trap and its dependence on the number of trapped atoms. Our predictions are compared with experiments performed on a large Rb85 magneto-optical trap.

Abstract:
Non-equilibrium dynamics of many-body systems is important in many branches of science, such as condensed matter, quantum chemistry, and ultracold atoms. Here we report the experimental observation of a phase transition of the quantum coherent dynamics of a 3D many-spin system with dipolar interactions, and determine its critical exponents. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) on a solid-state system of spins at room-temperature, we quench the interaction Hamiltonian to drive the evolution of the system. The resulting dynamics of the system coherence can be localized or extended, depending on the quench strength. Applying a finite-time scaling analysis to the observed time-evolution of the number of correlated spins, we extract the critical exponents v = s = 0.42 around the phase transition separating a localized from a delocalized dynamical regime. These results show clearly that such nuclear-spin based quantum simulations can effectively model the non-equilibrium dynamics of complex many-body systems, such as 3D spin-networks with dipolar interactions.

Abstract:
Dicke superradiance has been observed in many systems and is based on constructive interferences between many scattered waves. The counterpart of this enhanced dynamics, subradiance, is a destructive interference effect leading to the partial trapping of light in the system. In contrast to the robust superradiance, subradiant states are fragile and spurious decoherence phenomena hitherto obstructed the observation of such metastable states. We show that a dilute cloud of cold atoms is an ideal system to look for subradiance in free space and study various mechanisms to control this subradiance.

Abstract:
Since Dicke's seminal paper on coherence in spontaneous radiation by atomic ensembles, superradiance has been extensively studied. Subradiance, on the contrary, has remained elusive, mainly because subradiant states are weakly coupled to the environment and are very sensitive to nonradiative decoherence processes.Here we report the direct observation of subradiance in an extended and dilute cold-atom sample containing a large number of particles. We use a far detuned laser to avoid multiple scattering and observe the temporal decay after a sudden switch-off of the laser beam. After the fast decay of most of the fluorescence, we detect a very slow decay, with time constants as long as 100 times the natural lifetime of the excited state of individual atoms. This subradiant time constant scales linearly with the cooperativity parameter, corresponding to the on-resonance optical thickness of the sample, and is independent of the laser detuning, as expected from a coupled-dipole model.

Abstract:
In this paper, we use steady-state measurements to obtain evidence of radiation trapping in an optically thick a cloud of cold rubidium atoms. We investigate the fluorescence properties of our sample, pumped on opened transitions. The intensity of fluorescence exhibits a non trivial dependence on the optical thickness of the media. A simplified model, based on rate equations self-consistently coupled to a diffusive model of light transport, is used to explain the experimental observations in terms of incoherent radiation trapping on one spectral line. Measurements of atomic populations and fluorescence spectrum qualitatively agree with this interpretation.