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A simple method of calculating the Wannier-Stark resonances in 2D lattices is suggested. Using this method we calculate the complex Wannier-Stark spectrum for a non-separable 2D potential realized in optical lattices and analyze its general structure. The dependence of the lifetime of Wannier-Stark states on the direction of the static field (relative to the crystallographic axis of the lattice) is briefly discussed.

The paper studies the dynamics of transitions between the levels of a Wannier-Stark ladder induced by a resonant periodic driving. The analysis of the problem is done in terms of resonance quasienergy states, which take into account the metastable character of the Wannier-Stark states. It is shown that the periodic driving creates from a localized Wannier-Stark state an extended Bloch-like state with a spatial length varying in time as ~ t^1/2. Such a state can find applications in the field of atomic optics because it generates a coherent pulsed atomic beam.

The statistics of the resonance widths and the behavior of the survival probability is studied in a particular model of quantum chaotic scattering (a particle in a periodic potential subject to static and time-periodic forces) introduced earlier in Ref. [5,6]. The coarse-grained distribution of the resonance widths is shown to be in good agreement with the prediction of Random Matrix Theory (RMT). The behavior of the survival probability shows, however, some deviation from RMT.

The quasienergy spectrum of a Bloch electron affected by dc-ac fields is known to have a fractal structure as function of the so-called electric matching ratio, which is the ratio of the ac field frequency and the Bloch frequency. This paper studies a manifestation of the fractal nature of the spectrum in the system "atom in a standing laser wave", which is a quantum optical realization of a Bloch electron. It is shown that for an appropriate choice of the system parameters the atomic survival probability (a quantity measured in laboratory experiments) also develops a fractal structure as a function of the electric matching ratio. Numerical simulations under classically chaotic scattering conditions show good agreement with theoretical predictions based on random matrix theory.

The paper studies the effect of a weak periodic driving on metastable Wannier-Stark states. The decay rate of the ground Wannier-Stark states as a continuous function of the driving frequency is calculated numerically. The theoretical results are compared with experimental data of Wilkinson et at. [Phys.Rev.Lett.76, 4512 (1996)] obtained for cold sodium atoms in an accelerated optical lattice.