Kinetic theory of dark solitons with tunable friction

Hilary M. Hurst, Dmitry K. Efimkin, I B Spielman, Victor Galitski

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We study controllable friction in a system consisting of a dark soliton in a one-dimensional Bose-Einstein condensate coupled to a noninteracting Fermi gas. The fermions act as impurity atoms, not part of the original condensate, that scatter off of the soliton. We study semiclassical dynamics of the dark soliton, a particlelike object with negative mass, and calculate its friction coefficient. Surprisingly, it depends periodically on the ratio of interspecies (impurity-condensate) to intraspecies (condensate-condensate) interaction strengths. By tuning this ratio, one can access a regime where the friction coefficient vanishes. We develop a general theory of stochastic dynamics for negative-mass objects and find that their dynamics are drastically different from their positive-mass counterparts: they do not undergo Brownian motion. From the exact phase-space probability distribution function (i.e., in position and velocity), we find that both the trajectory and lifetime of the soliton are altered by friction, and the soliton can undergo Brownian motion only in the presence of friction and a confining potential. These results agree qualitatively with experimental observations by Aycock et al. [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114, 2503 (2017)10.1073/pnas.1615004114] in a similar system with bosonic impurity scatterers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053604
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Solitons
  • Matter-wave solitons
  • Solitary waves

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