Scientific Results

Polariton Superfluids Reveal Quantum Hydrodynamic Solitons

Year: 2011

Authors: Amo A., Pigeon S., Sanvitto D., Sala V.G., Hivet R., Carusotto I., Pisanello F., Lemenager G., Houdre R., Giacobino E., Ciuti C., Bramati A.

Autors Affiliation: Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, École Normale Supérieure et CNRS, UPMC Case 74, 4 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France; CNRS–Laboratoire de Photonique et Nanostructures, Route de Nozay, 91460 Marcoussis, France; Laboratoire Matériaux et Phénomènes Quantiques, UMR 7162, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 et CNRS, 75013 Paris, France; NNL, Istituto Nanoscienze–CNR, Via Arnesano, 73100 Lecce, Italy; INO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Trento, via Sommarive 14, I-38123 Povo, Italy; Scuola Superiore ISUFI, Università del Salento, Via Arnesano, 73100 Lecce, Italy; Institut de Physique de la Matière Condensée, Faculté des Sciences de Base, bâtiment de Physique, Station 3, EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract: A quantum fluid passing an obstacle behaves differently from a classical one. When the flow is slow enough, the quantum gas enters a superfluid regime, and neither whirlpools nor waves form around the obstacle. For higher flow velocities, it has been predicted that the perturbation induced by the defect gives rise to the turbulent emission of quantized vortices and to the nucleation of solitons. Using an interacting Bose gas of exciton-polaritons in a semiconductor microcavity, we report the transition from superfluidity to the hydrodynamic formation of oblique dark solitons and vortex streets in the wake of a potential barrier. The direct observation of these topological excitations provides key information on the mechanisms of superflow and shows the potential of polariton condensates for quantum turbulence studies.

Journal/Review: SCIENCE

Volume: 332 (6034)      Pages from: 1167  to: 1170

More Information: We thank S. Barbay, J. Bloch, R. Kuszelewicz, W. D. Phillips, L. P. Pitaevskii, and M. Wouters for useful discussions, and L. Martiradonna for the confocal masks. This work was supported by the IFRAF, CLERMONT4, and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche. A.B. and C.C. are members of the Institut Universitaire de France.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1202307

Citations: 239
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