Physicists create SQUID-like Bose–Einstein condensate

Illustration of how the BEC torus is cut by a green laser. The laser is rotated about the axis of the torus such that the cut moves through the torus. (Courtesy: K C Wright et al. 2013 Phys. Rev. Lett.)

Illustration of how the BEC torus is cut by a green laser. The laser is rotated about the axis of the torus such that the cut moves through the torus.

K. C. Wright, R. B. Blakestad, C. J. Lobb‡, W. D. Phillips, and G. K. Campbell
We have observed well-defined phase slips between quantized persistent current states around a toroidal atomic (23Na) Bose-Einstein condensate. These phase slips are induced by a weak link (a localized region of reduced superfluid density) rotated slowly around the ring. This is analogous to the behavior of a superconducting loop with a weak link in the presence of an external magnetic field. When the weak link is rotated more rapidly, well-defined phase slips no longer occur, and vortices enter into the bulk of the condensate. A noteworthy feature of this system is the ability to dynamically vary the current-phase relation of the weak link, a feature which is difficult to implement in superconducting or superfluid helium circuits.
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