Experiments on hydrodynamic transport in ultra-cold bose gasses

S.B. Koller

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


At temperatures near the absolut zero, a gas, here atomic sodium vapour, with high enough density cannot be described as tiny balls moving around as in classical physics. Since the temperature is low, the atoms are so slow that the matterwave of each atom starts to extend over the size of the atom and even over the interatomic distance. Therefore, they start to interfere like waves. Quantum mechanics start to dominate the physics in this regime. Further, depending on the sort of atoms (bosons or fermions) the atoms prefer to be in the same state or avoid to be in the same state. In the case of bosons as in the thesis, if the temperature is lowered to sub micro Kelvin temperature, a new state of matter appears after a phase transition - a macroscopic, standing wave, the Bose-Einstein condensate. This leads to a new phenomena: superfluidity - frictionless flow, second sound, vorticity and coherent scattering effects to name a few. The atoms are trapped in a elongated trap as in most of the experiments in ultra cold gasses. Usually experiments are done in a regime where the atoms seldomly collide with each other while travelling from one end to the other end of the cloud. In this experiment, however, the atoms collide many times with each other when they oscillate in the trap. This means that the cloud is hydrodynamic and leads to a very different behaviour. Two different sound waves (first and second sound), heat conduction, and collisional dominated transport can be observed in this case. The fact that the gas is weakly interacting allows comparison with current theory. At very low temperatures as in the experiments described in the thesis, the Bose character strongly alters the collisions of the atoms. The outcome of the collision does not only depend on the colliding atoms, but also on the atoms near by in phase space. The experiments outlined in this thesis cover some aspects of physics involved. Vortices have been created and observed in the Bose-Einstein condensate that rested in a weak trap. Both sound modes first and second sound have been observed with slight local heating. In the regime considered, first sound, that has not been observed in a dilute Bose-Einstein condensate before, is mainly a modulation in local temperature and not density. In another experiment a particular effect is observed when the cloud is only axially hydrodynamic. When the trap is suddenly axially relaxed, the cloud creats a strip pattern that is in the radial direction and moving outward. The analysis of this experiment suggests that this is only the case when the cloud is indeed only axially hydrodynamic. The last chapter describs a spin drag experiment. In this experiment two spin species of atoms are prepared and on one of them a force is applied. Through collisions, the other species is dragged along. This effect is Bose enhanced at temperatures approaching the transition temperature to a Bose-Einstein condensate which is observed and matches recent theory.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • van der Straten, Peter, Primary supervisor
Award date10 Sept 2012
Print ISBNs978-90-393-6835-0
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Experiments on hydrodynamic transport in ultra-cold bose gasses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this