We show how the momentum distribution of gaseous Bose-Einstein condensates can be shaped by applying a sequence of standing-wave laser pulses. We present a theory, whose validity was demonstrated in an earlier experiment [L. Denget al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 5407 (1999)], of the effect of a two-pulse sequence on the condensate wavefunction in momentum space. We generalize the previous result to the case of N pulses of arbitrary intensity separated by arbitrary intervals and show how these parameters can be engineered to produce a desired final momentum distribution. We find that several momentum distributions, important in atom-interferometry applications, can be engineered with high fidelity with two or three pulses.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark_edwards1/3/