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Topological Defects in Bose-Einstein Condensates

A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) was only experimentally realised in 1995. It is the condensation of a gas of bosons into the lowest energy state and occurs at extremely low temperatures. The key features of a BEC will be detailed and its governing equation, the Gross-Pitaevskii equation (a semi-classical non-linear PDE, given in terms of a wavefunction) will be introduced. Connections between vortices in a Bose-Einstein condensate (a quantum fluid) and vortices in a classical fluid are noted. Particular attention will be placed on BECs under rotation and on the numerous types of topological defects seen (vortices, skyrmions, monopoles etc).

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