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From Cosmology to Cold Atoms: Observation of Sakharov Oscillations in a Quenched Atomic Superfluid

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Science  01 Aug 2013:
1237557
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237557

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Abstract

Predicting the dynamics of many-body systems far from equilibrium is a challenging theoretical problem. A long-predicted phenomenon in hydrodynamic nonequilibrium systems is the occurrence of Sakharov oscillations, which manifest in the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and the large-scale correlations of galaxies. Here, we report the observation of Sakharov oscillations in the density fluctuations of a quenched atomic superfluid through a systematic study in both space and time domains and with tunable interaction strengths. Our work suggests a different approach to the study of nonequilibrium dynamics of quantum many-body systems and the exploration of their analogs in cosmology and astrophysics.

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