The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 133-152

First online:

Vortex rings and solitary waves in trapped Bose–Einstein condensates

  • S. KomineasAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems

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We discuss nonlinear excitations in an atomic Bose–Einstein condensate which is trapped in a harmonic potential. We focus on axially symmetric solitary waves propagating along a cylindrical condensate. A quasi one-dimensional dark soliton is the only nonlinear mode for a condensate with weak interactions. For sufficiently strong interactions of experimental interest solitary waves are hybrids of one-dimensional dark solitons and three-dimensional vortex rings. The energy-momentum dispersion of these solitary waves exhibits characteristics similar to a mode proposed sometime ago by Lieb in a strictly 1D model, as well as some rotonlike features. We subsequently discuss interactions between solitary waves. Head-on collisions between dark solitons are elastic. Slow vortex rings collide elastically but faster ones form intermediate structures during collisions before they lose energy to the background fluid. Solitary waves and their interactions have been observed in experiments. However, some of their intriguing features still remain to be experimentally identified.