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Observation of Half-Quantum Vortices in an Exciton-Polariton Condensate

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Science  13 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5955, pp. 974-976
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177980

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Abstract

Singly quantized vortices have already been observed in many systems, including the superfluid helium, Bose-Einstein condensates of dilute atomic gases, and condensates of exciton-polaritons in the solid state. Two-dimensional superfluids carrying spin are expected to demonstrate a different type of elementary excitations referred to as half-quantum vortices, characterized by a π rotation of the phase and a π rotation of the polarization vector when circumventing the vortex core. We detect half-quantum vortices in an exciton-polariton condensate by means of polarization-resolved interferometry, real-space spectroscopy, and phase imaging. Half-quantum vortices coexist with single-quantum vortices in our sample.

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