Title

Non-equilibrium dynamics of a Bose-Einstein condensate in an optical lattice

Date of Completion

January 2009

Keywords

Physics, Quantum|Physics, Atomic

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in an optical lattice driven out of equilibrium and the subsequent dynamics are investigated in the limit of weak atom-atom interactions both within the classical mean-field approximation and by incorporating an approximate model for quantum fluctuations. A prediction of pulsating dynamical instability in which atoms periodically collect together and subsequently disperse back into the initial homogeneous state is made. This instability is a unique feature of this Hamiltonian system characterized by a single unstable mode and can be considered as a remnant of the integrability of the non-integrable system. A phase-space model has been employed to incorporate the quantum fluctuations within the truncated Wigner approximation. It is observed that the quasiperiodic behavior of the pulsating dynamics persists in the individual stochastic realizations that represent the typical experimental outcomes, but the effect of quantum fluctuations is manifested in the ensemble averages of various properties of the system. Quantum effects are increasingly prominent and the revivals of the ensemble averages of the wave function become progressively weaker when the effective interaction strength is increased. Motivated by these predictions, we apply similar methods to two-component BECs. Within the mean-field model we demonstrate a spontaneous emergence of a vector soliton like structure, a bound pair of a soliton and an anti-soliton, from the homogeneous imbalanced mixture of two BEC species. This is a feature that uniquely combines phase separation, pulsating instability, and formation of a dark-bright soliton pair when the parameters involved are tuned properly. ^