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Superflow in a Toroidal Bose-Einstein Condensate: An Atom Circuit with a Tunable Weak Link

A. Ramanathan, K. C. Wright, S. R. Muniz, M. Zelan, W. T. Hill, III, C. J. Lobb, K. Helmerson, W. D. Phillips, and G. K. Campbell
Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 130401 – Published 28 March 2011


We have created a long-lived (40s) 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.

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  • Received 20 December 2010


© 2011 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

A. Ramanathan, K. C. Wright*, S. R. Muniz, M. Zelan, W. T. Hill, III, C. J. Lobb, K. Helmerson§, W. D. Phillips, and G. K. Campbell

  • Joint Quantum Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Maryland, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20899, USA

  • *Corresponding author. kcwright@nist.gov
  • Current address: Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos, 13560-970, Brazil.
  • Primary address: Department of Physics, Umeå University, SE-901 87, Umeå, Sweden.
  • §Current address: School of Physics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.

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Vol. 106, Iss. 13 — 1 April 2011

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