Atom Circuits: Superflow in Toroidal Condensates

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 – 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Reiss 502
Gretchen Campbell
Joint Quantum Institute of NIST and UMD

Persistent currents are a hallmark of both superfluidity and superconductivity. Just as a current in a superconducting circuit will flow forever, if a current is created in a superfluid condensate, the flow will not decay. Recently, we have created long-lived persistent currents in toroid-shaped Bose-Einstein Condensates. Circulation is created by transferring quantized angular momentum from optical fields using a two- photon Raman process. A repulsive optical barrier intersects a portion of the torus, creating a tunable weak link in the condensate circuit, which can be used to control the current around the loop. As the barrier strength is increased, we find that the superflow stops abruptly when the local flow velocity at the barrier exceeds a critical velocity. We have recently implemented a moving barrier and are starting to study the effects of a rotating barrier on a stationary condensate. These results demonstrate an essential step toward realizing an atomic SQUID analog.

Host: Jim Freericks
Discussion Leader: Marcos Rigol