We have created a long-lived () persistent current in a toroidal Bose-Einstein condensate held in an all-optical trap. A repulsive optical barrier across one side of the torus creates a tunable weak link in the condensate circuit, which can affect the current around the loop. Superflow stops abruptly at a barrier strength such that the local flow velocity at the barrier exceeds a critical velocity. The measured critical velocity is consistent with dissipation due to the creation of vortex-antivortex pairs. This system is the first realization of an elementary closed-loop atom circuit.
- Received 20 December 2010
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