Wave chaos as signature for depletion of a Bose-Einstein condensate

Iva Březinová, Axel U.J. Lode, Alexej I. Streltsov, Ofir E. Alon, Lorenz S. Cederbaum, Joachim Burgdörfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the expansion of repulsively interacting Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in shallow one-dimensional potentials. We show for these systems that the onset of wave chaos in the Gross-Pitaevskii equation (GPE), that is, the onset of exponential separation in Hilbert space of two nearby condensate wave functions, can be used as an indication for the onset of depletion of the BEC and the occupation of excited modes within a many-body description. Comparison between the multiconfigurational time-dependent Hartree for bosons method and the GPE reveals a close correspondence between the many-body effect of depletion and the mean-field effect of wave chaos for a wide range of single-particle external potentials. In the regime of wave chaos the GPE fails to account for the fine-scale quantum fluctuations because many-body effects beyond the validity of the GPE are non-negligible. Surprisingly, despite the failure of the GPE to account for the depletion, coarse-grained expectation values of the single-particle density such as the overall width of the atomic cloud agree very well with the many-body simulations. The time-dependent depletion of the condensate could be investigated experimentally, for example, via decay of coherence of the expanding atom cloud.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013630
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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