Dissipative transport of a Bose-Einstein condensate
Dries, D.; Pollack, S.E.; Hitchcock, J.M.; Hulet, R.G.
We investigate the effects of impurities, either correlated disorder or a single Gaussian defect, on the collective dipole motion of a Bose-Einstein condensate of Li7 in an optical trap. We find that this motion is damped at a rate dependent on the impurity strength, condensate center-of-mass velocity, and interatomic interactions. Damping in the Thomas-Fermi regime depends universally on the disordered potential strength scaled to the condensate chemical potential and the condensate velocity scaled to the speed of sound. The damping rate is comparatively small in the weakly interacting regime, and, in this case, is accompanied by strong condensate fragmentation. In situ and time-of-flight images of the atomic cloud provide evidence that this fragmentation is driven by dark soliton formation.