Transport properties of a Bose-Einstein condensate with tunable interactions in the presence of a disordered or single defect potential
Dries, Daniel Franklin
Hulet, Randall G.
Doctor of Philosophy
Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) have proven to be remarkable systems with which to study some of the foundational models of condensed matter physics. The observation of a critical velocity for the breakdown of superfluidity in a BEC and the superfluid to Mott insulator transition observed in a BEC trapped by an optical lattice are but two examples of the, by now, dozens of exciting results in this field, which combines theoretical tools from condensed matter physics with state-of-the-art experimental techniques from ultra-cold atomic physics. However, any real condensed matter system has to contend with the effects of disorder, a phenomena notably absent in the inherently clean BEC systems. We have developed and implemented a way to add well characterized disorder in a controlled way to the otherwise clean BEC system using the light field from a laser speckle pattern. Using this system, we have investigated the effects of disorder or a single Gaussian defect, on the collective dipole motion of a BEC of 7Li in an optical trap. In addition, we perform transport experiments on a weakly interacting BEC expanding in a disordered one-dimensional atom wave-guide. We have observed that in such a system, the wave nature of matter can lead to spectacular and counterintuitive phenomena. Specifically, we verify that this system exhibits Anderson localization, a phenomena fundamentally resulting from the interference of multiply scattered matter waves. In such a state, the localized gas behaves as an insulator in a regime where it is classically expected to be conducting. We also present results of experiments regarding a repulsive BEC scattering from a semi-permeable, single defect potential. We investigate the transport properties of such a system with special emphasis on the velocity and defect strength dependent dissipation of the collective dipole motion of the BEC. Finally, we present the results of our experiments on the scattering properties of bright matter wave solitons. We have observed fragmentation of the soliton in a disordered potential as well as both splitting and recombination of a soliton after interacting with a single repulsive defect potential.
Low temperature physics; Condensed matter physics; Atomic physics; Optics