The inhomogeneous Kibble-Zurek mechanism: Vortex nucleation during Bose-Einstein condensation

A. Del Campo*, A. Retzker, M. B. Plenio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The Kibble-Zurek mechanism is applied to the spontaneous formation of vortices in a harmonically trapped thermal gas following a temperature quench through the critical value for Bose-Einstein condensation. Whereas in the homogeneous scenario, vortex nucleation is always expected, we show that it can be completely suppressed in the presence of the confinement potential whenever the speed of the spatial front undergoing condensation is lower than a threshold velocity. Otherwise, the interplay between the geometry and the causality leads to different scaling laws for the density of vortices as a function of the quench rate, as we also illustrate for the case of a toroidal trapping potential.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number083022
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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