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Durham e-Theses
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Theoretical studies of bright solitons in trapped atomic Bose-Einstein condensates

Martin, Andrew David (2008) Theoretical studies of bright solitons in trapped atomic Bose-Einstein condensates. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Bright solitary-waves may be created in dilute Bose-Einstein condensates of at tractively interacting atoms in one dimensional regimes. In integrable systems, such solitary waves are particle-like objects called solitons. We investigate the consequences of non-integrability on the solitary waves in trapped Bose-Einstein condensates caused by an axial harmonic trap, and non-integrability caused by three dimensional effects. To analyse the soliton-like nature of the solitary-waves in an axial harmonic trap, a particle analogy for the solitary-waves is formulated. Exact Soliton solutions exist in the absence of an external trapping potential, which behave in a particle-like manner, and we find the particle analogy we employ to be a good model also when a harmonic trapping potential is present up to a gradual shift in the trajectories when the harmonic trap period is short compared with the, collision time of the solitons. We find that the collision time of the solions is dependent on the relative phase of the solitons as they collide. In the case of two solitons, the particle model is integrable, and the dynamics are completely regular. In the case of a system of two solitary waves of equal norm, the solitons are shown to retain their phase difference for repeated collisions. The extension to three particles supports both regular and chaotic regimes. The trajectory shift observed for two solitons carrier over to the case of three solitons. This shift aside, the agreement between the particle model and the wave dynamics remains good, even in chaotic regimes. We predict that these chaotic regimes will be an indicator of rapid depletion of the condensate due to quantum transitions of the condensate particles into non-condensate modes. To analyse the residual effects of the three dimensional nature of the solitary waves, we use a nonlinear Schrödinger equation with an additional quintic term. We perform variational calculations, and confirm the collapse of a soliton when the number of particles contained therein is increased past a critical number. We investigate the effects of varying the axial trap frequency and scattering length on the critical number. We propose a method to model particle exchange between solitons by extending the variational treatment to two solitons.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:29

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