Real-Time Dynamics of Single Vortex Lines and Vortex Dipoles in a Bose-Einstein Condensate

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Science  03 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5996, pp. 1182-1185
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191224

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Understanding the behavior of quantized vortices is essential to gaining insight into diverse superfluid phenomena, from critical-current densities in superconductors to quantum turbulence in superfluids. We observe the real-time dynamics of quantized vortices in trapped dilute-gas Bose-Einstein condensates by repeatedly imaging the vortex cores. The precession frequency of a single vortex is measured by explicitly observing its time dependence and is found to be in good agreement with theory. We further characterize the dynamics of vortex dipoles in two distinct configurations: (i) an asymmetric configuration, in which the vortex trajectories are dynamic and nontrivial, and (ii) a stable, symmetric configuration, in which the dipole is stationary.

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