Breakdown of superfluidity of an atom laser past an obstacle

Nicolas Pavloff 1

Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 66 (2002) 013610

The 1D flow of a continuous beam of Bose-Einstein condensed atoms in the presence of an obstacle is studied as a function of the beam velocity and of the type of perturbing potential (representing the interaction of the obstacle with the atoms of the beam). We identify the relevant regimes: stationary/time-dependent and superfluid/dissipative; the absence of drag is used as a criterion for superfluidity. There exists a critical velocity below which the flow is superfluid. For attractive obstacles, we show that this critical velocity can reach the value predicted by Landau's approach. For penetrable obstacles, it is shown that superfluidity is recovered at large beam velocity. Finally, enormous differences in drag occur when switching from repulsive to attractive potential.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud