Spontaneous Formation of Quantized Vortices in Bose-Einstein Condensates

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195126
Title:
Spontaneous Formation of Quantized Vortices in Bose-Einstein Condensates
Author:
Weiler, Chad Nathan
Issue Date:
2008
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Phase transitions abound in the physical world, from the subatomic length scales of quark condensation to the decoupling forces in the early universe. In the Bose-Einstein condensation phase transition, a gas of trapped bosonic atoms is cooled to a critical temperature. Below this temperature, a macroscopic number of atoms suddenly starts to occupy a single quantum state; these atoms comprise the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). The dynamics of the BEC phase transition are the focus of this dissertation and the experiments described here have provided new information on the details of BEC formation. New theoretical developments are proving to be valuable tools for describing BEC phase transition dynamics and interpreting new experimental results. With their amenability to optical manipulation and probing along with the advent of new microscopic theories, BECs provide an important new avenue for gaining insight into the universal dynamics of phase transitions in general.Spontaneous symmetry breaking in the system's order parameter may be one result of cooling through a phase transition. A potential consequence of this is the spontaneous formation of topological defects, which in a BEC appear as vortices. We experimentally observed and characterized the spontaneous formation of vortices during BEC growth. We attribute vortex creation to coherence length limitations during the initial stages of the phase transition. Parallel to these experimental observations, theory collaborators have used the Stochastic Gross-Pitaevski Equation formalism to simulate the growth of a condensate from a thermal cloud. The experimental and theoretical statistical results of the spontaneous formation of vortex cores during the growth of the condensate are in good quantitative agreement with one another, supporting our understanding of the dynamics of the phase transition. We believe that our results are also qualitatively consistent with the Kibble-Zurek mechanism, a universal model for topological defect formation.Ultimately, our understanding of the dynamics of the BEC phase transition may lead to a broader understanding of phase transitions in general, and provide new insight into the development of coherence in numerous systems.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Bose-Einstein Condensates; Vortices; Kibble-Zurek scenario; Phase transition
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Optical Sciences; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Anderson, Brian P.
Committee Chair:
Anderson, Brian P.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleSpontaneous Formation of Quantized Vortices in Bose-Einstein Condensatesen_US
dc.creatorWeiler, Chad Nathanen_US
dc.contributor.authorWeiler, Chad Nathanen_US
dc.date.issued2008en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractPhase transitions abound in the physical world, from the subatomic length scales of quark condensation to the decoupling forces in the early universe. In the Bose-Einstein condensation phase transition, a gas of trapped bosonic atoms is cooled to a critical temperature. Below this temperature, a macroscopic number of atoms suddenly starts to occupy a single quantum state; these atoms comprise the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). The dynamics of the BEC phase transition are the focus of this dissertation and the experiments described here have provided new information on the details of BEC formation. New theoretical developments are proving to be valuable tools for describing BEC phase transition dynamics and interpreting new experimental results. With their amenability to optical manipulation and probing along with the advent of new microscopic theories, BECs provide an important new avenue for gaining insight into the universal dynamics of phase transitions in general.Spontaneous symmetry breaking in the system's order parameter may be one result of cooling through a phase transition. A potential consequence of this is the spontaneous formation of topological defects, which in a BEC appear as vortices. We experimentally observed and characterized the spontaneous formation of vortices during BEC growth. We attribute vortex creation to coherence length limitations during the initial stages of the phase transition. Parallel to these experimental observations, theory collaborators have used the Stochastic Gross-Pitaevski Equation formalism to simulate the growth of a condensate from a thermal cloud. The experimental and theoretical statistical results of the spontaneous formation of vortex cores during the growth of the condensate are in good quantitative agreement with one another, supporting our understanding of the dynamics of the phase transition. We believe that our results are also qualitatively consistent with the Kibble-Zurek mechanism, a universal model for topological defect formation.Ultimately, our understanding of the dynamics of the BEC phase transition may lead to a broader understanding of phase transitions in general, and provide new insight into the development of coherence in numerous systems.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectBose-Einstein Condensatesen_US
dc.subjectVorticesen_US
dc.subjectKibble-Zurek scenarioen_US
dc.subjectPhase transitionen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineOptical Sciencesen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorAnderson, Brian P.en_US
dc.contributor.chairAnderson, Brian P.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWright, Ewanen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberJessen, Poul S.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest2709en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659749718en_US
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