Spontaneous vortices in the formation of Bose-Einstein condensates

Weiler, Chad N., Neely, Tyler W., Scherer, David R., Bradley, Ashton S, Davis, Matthew J. and Anderson, Brian P. (2008) Spontaneous vortices in the formation of Bose-Einstein condensates. Nature, 455 7215: 948-951. doi:10.1038/nature07334

Author Weiler, Chad N.
Neely, Tyler W.
Scherer, David R.
Bradley, Ashton S
Davis, Matthew J.
Anderson, Brian P.
Title Spontaneous vortices in the formation of Bose-Einstein condensates
Journal name Nature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-0836
Publication date 2008-10-16
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nature07334
Volume 455
Issue 7215
Start page 948
End page 951
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, England
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject C1
970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
020601 Degenerate Quantum Gases and Atom Optics
Abstract Phase transitions are ubiquitous in nature, and can be arranged into universality classes such that systems having unrelated microscopic physics show identical scaling behaviour near the critical point. One prominent universal element of many continuous phase transitions is the spontaneous formation of topological defects during a quench through the critical point1, 2, 3. The microscopic dynamics of defect formation in such transitions are generally difficult to investigate, particularly for superfluids4, 5, 6, 7. However, Bose–Einstein condensates (BECs) offer unique experimental and theoretical opportunities for probing these details. Here we present an experimental and theoretical study of the BEC phase transition of a trapped atomic gas, in which we observe and statistically characterize the spontaneous formation of vortices during condensation8, 9. Using microscopic theories10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 that incorporate atomic interactions and quantum and thermal fluctuations of a finite-temperature Bose gas, we simulate condensation and observe vortex formation in close quantitative agreement with our experimental results. Our studies provide further understanding of the development of coherence in superfluids, and may allow for direct investigation of universal phase transition dynamics.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Mathematics and Physics
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 239 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Apr 2009, 20:08:10 EST by Stephanie Golding on behalf of ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum-Atom Optics