Wednesday, May 8, 2013

1305.1423 (Jiho Noh et al.)

Observation of the universal jump across the
Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in two-dimensional Bose gases

Jiho Noh, Jeongwon Lee, Jongchul Mun
The physics in two-dimensional (2D) systems is very different from what we observe in three-dimensional (3D) systems. Thermal fluctuations in 2D systems are enhanced, and they prevent the conventional Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) at non-zero temperatures by destroying the long-range order. However, a phase transition to a superfluid phase is still expected to occur in a 2D system along with an emergence of a quasi-long-range order, explained by the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) mechanism. Within the BKT mechanism, a universal jump of the superfluid density in a 2D Bosonic system was theoretically predicted by Nelson and Kosterlitz, and was first observed in 2D \textsuperscript{4}He films by Bishop and Reppy. Recent experiments in trapped ultracold 2D Bose gas systems have shown signatures of the BKT transition, and its superfluidity. However, the universal jump in the superfluid density was not observed in these systems. Here we report the first observation of the universal jump in the superfluid density using an optically trapped ultracold 2D Bose gas. The measured superfluid phase space density at the BKT transition agrees well with the predicted value within our measurement uncertainty. Additionally, we measure the phase fluctuations in our density profiles to show that the BKT transition occurs first, followed by the BEC transition.
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