Wednesday, February 1, 2012

1112.4754 (S. Knoop et al.)

Non-exponential one-body loss in a Bose-Einstein condensate    [PDF]

S. Knoop, J. S. Borbely, R. van Rooij, W. Vassen
We have studied the decay of a Bose-Einstein condensate of metastable helium
atoms in an optical dipole trap. In the regime where two- and three-body losses
can be neglected we show that the Bose-Einstein condensate and the thermal
cloud show fundamentally different decay characteristics. The total number of
atoms decays exponentially with time constant tau; however, the thermal cloud
decays exponentially with time constant (4/3)tau and the condensate decays much
faster, and non-exponentially. We show that this behaviour, which should be
present for all BECs in thermal equilibrium with a considerable thermal
fraction, is due to a transfer of atoms from the condensate to the thermal
cloud during its decay.
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