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Dynamics of topological processes in spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates (BORGHMU19SF)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Modern experimental techniques have brought atomic quantum gases to the forefront as systems where objects and processes may be studied that find analogues in seemingly distant areas of physics, including condensed-matter physics and early-universe cosmology [i]. These are topological defects and textures, such as superfluid vortices, monopoles and skyrmions, whose fundamental properties arise very generically from broken symmetries. Topological defects are predicted to form in many different contexts, e.g, when a system undergoes a phase transition that causes its symmetry properties to change, or when regions of different broken symmetries interact.

In this PhD project, we will use large-scale numerical simulations to theoretically study these dynamic processes, as well as the dynamics of the defects themselves, in atomic spinor Bose-Einstein condensates. These superfluid quantum gases of atoms with quantum-mechanical spin degree of freedom provide versatile testbeds for topological defects [ii]. The aim of the project is to identify how these highly accessible systems can be used, e.g., to study dynamical phenomena at boundaries between topologically distinct regions [iii], with parallels in cosmology and in superfluid liquid helium-3 [iv], or production of topological defects in phase transitions, and to understand the interactions between defects in systems with complex broken symmetries [v]. Exact research problems will be agreed with the applicant depending on background and interests.

We will use mean-field methods to model the spinor condensate, which requires numerically solving coupled, non-linear, partial differential equations. As a PhD student on this project you will develop numerical and computer-programming skills. You should have a degree in physics or applied mathematics and it is essential that you are comfortable working with computers and computer programming. A background involving quantum mechanics and/or atomic physics is desirable. In addition to the physics of spinor Bose-Einstein condensates, you will also study basic topology and group theory.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of programme: PhD

Project start date: October 2019

Mode of study: Full time

Entry requirements: Acceptable first degree - Physics, Chemical Physics, Mathematics.
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) G. Volovik, "The Universe in a Helium Droplet", Oxford University Press, Oxford (2003).

ii) Y. Kawaguchi and M. Ueda, Phys. Rep. 520, 253 (2012).

iii) M. O. Borgh and J. Ruostekoski, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 015302 (2012)

iv) D. I. Bradley et al., Nature Phys., 4, 46 (2008)

v) M. O. Borgh and J. Ruostekoski, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 275302 (2016).

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