Vortices in trapped Bose-Einstein condensates
In this thesis we solve the Gross-Pitaevskii equation numerically in order to model the response of trapped Bose-Einstein condensed gases to perturbations by electromagnetic fields. First, we simulate output coupling of pulses from the condensate and compare our results to experiments. The excitation and separation of eigen-modes on flow through a constriction is also studied. We then move on to the main theme of this thesis: the important subject of quantised vortices in Bose condensates, and the relation between Bose-Einstein condensation and superfluidity. We propose methods of producing vortex pairs and rings by controlled motion of objects. Full three-dimensional simulations under realistic experimental conditions are performed in order to test the validity of these ideas. We link vortex formation to drag forces on the object, which in turn is connected with energy transfer to the condensate. We therefore argue that vortex formation by moving objects is intimately related to the onset of dissipation in superfluids. We discuss this idea in the context of a recent experiment, using simulations to provide evidence of vortex formation in the experimental scenario. Superfluidity is also manifest in the property of persistent currents, which is linked to vortex stability and dynamics. We simulate vortex line and ring motion, and find in both cases precessional motion and thermodynamic instability to dissipation. Strictly speaking, the Gross-Pitaevskii equation is valid only for temperatures far below the BEG transition. We end the thesis by describing a simple finite- temperature model to describe mean-field coupling between condensed and non- condensed components of the gas. We show that our hybrid Monte-Carlo/FFT technique can describe damping of the lowest energy excitations of the system. Extensions to this model and future research directions are discussed in the conclusion.