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Title:  Implementation and Applications of the Stochastic Projected Gross-Pitaevskii Equation
Author:  Samuel James Rooney
As Contributor:   (not claimed)
Type: Ph.D.
Discipline: Physics
Domain: Theoretical
Subject area: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics - Theory
Degree granting institution:  University of Otago
Supervisor(s): Ashton Bradley, Blair Blakie, Uli Zuelicke
Defense date:  2015-02-12


Providing a complete description of dissipative superfluid dynamics is one of the major challenges of many-body quantum field theory. In this thesis we make a fundamental step towards this goal by implementing the stochastic projected Gross-Pitaevskii equation (SPGPE) in complete form for the first time. The SPGPE is a high-temperature theory of Bose-Einstein condensate dynamics, providing a classical-field description of a low-energy subspace in contact with a thermal reservoir. The reservoir interaction terms account for dissipation and noise from thermal interactions, and arise from two distinct processes described as number-damping and energy-damping. This work advances previous applications of the SPGPE theory, which have only included number-damping processes, by implementing the energy-damping processes. We describe the properties of the deterministic and noise terms corresponding to the energy-damping process, and develop a novel algorithm to accurately and efficiently evaluate the energy-damping terms in the SPGPE. We apply the SPGPE to a range of experimentally accessible systems, considering both non-equilibrium and quasi-equilibrium dynamics. We model the experiment of Neely et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 235301 (2013)], where stirring of a toroidally trapped Bose-Einstein condensate generates a disordered array of quantum vortices that decay, via thermal dissipation, to form a macroscopic persistent current. We perform numerical simulations of the experiment using the number-damping SPGPE and ab initio determined reservoir parameters. We quantitatively reproduce both the formation time and size of the persistent current, as measured in the experiment. In the first application of the full SPGPE, we consider the non-equilibrium dynamics of a condensate excited into a large-amplitude breathing mode. We find that in such non-equilibrium regimes, the energy-damping dominates over the number-damping process, leading to qualitatively different system dynamics. In particular, energy damping causes the system to rapidly reach thermal equilibrium without greatly depleting the condensate, showing that energy damping provides a highly coherent dissipation mechanism. Finally, we apply the SPGPE to the quasi-equilibrium dynamics of single-vortex decay. Energy-damping processes have previously been neglected for this system. SPGPE simulations show that in fact energy-damping has a dominant effect on the lifetime of a single vortex, with lifetimes less than half those predicted by the number-damping SPGPE. In contrast to the breathing mode decay, we observe little qualitative difference between the energy-damping and number-damping descriptions of vortex decay. Our findings show that while energy-damping processes are important to quantitatively describe quasi-equilibrium dynamics, the system behavior may be described by the number-damping SPGPE with a suitably modified dissipation rate.

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