The onset of Matter-Wave Amplification in a Superradiant Bose-Einstein Condensate
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The interaction of short and strong laser pulses with an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate is found to generate patterns of recoiling atoms that are different from those seen in previous light scattering experiments. This phenomenon can only be explained by optical stimulation, showing that the previous description of superradiance as atomic stimulation is incomplete, and that matter-wave amplification in Bose-Einstein condensates is suppressed at short times. Our experiments shed new light on the nature of bosonic stimulation in the four-wave mixing of light and atoms.