This project concerns numerical and theoretical studies of topological objects in ultracold atomic quantum systems.
Understanding the behaviour of a collection of particles is a challenging problem in physics, in particular in quantum mechanics, where the interaction between a pair of constituents is not necessarily a sufficient guide to predict many-particle dynamics. In typical relativistic quantum field-theoretical, elementary particle physics or cosmological systems direct observations or controlled laboratory experiments may not be possible. Many dynamical effects involving emergence of topological defects and textures are so complex that even numerical treatment becomes unfeasible for their accurate description. Ultracold atom systems have been discussed as candidates for experimentally accessible laboratory testing grounds where analogues, e.g., of early-Universe cosmological phenomena could be explored. Symmetry breaking in a phase transition to an ordered phase provides an important example. Originally in the early-Universe cosmology it was proposed that a rapid quench through cosmological phase transitions can lead to topological defect production in terms of cosmic strings and monopoles in which case the defect is a remnant of the old and more symmetric phase.
The project concerns of a study of ultracold atomic gases with spin degrees of freedom as a laboratory system for topological defects and textures that emulates cosmological processes and stability properties of field-theoretical vacuum states of particularly rich phenomenology, such as knotted solitons. Emergent phenomena in the dynamics of a large collection of atoms can be evaluated statistically by stochastic simulations. The project combines in unique and ambitious ways interdisciplinary ideas from optical and atomic physics and modern quantum field theories for state engineering, exploiting their generic features.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof Janne Ruostekoski, Applied Mathematics research group, Email: [email protected]
Funding information: This project is in competition with others for the associated funding. The funding covers EU/UK fees and stipend.
This project is run through participation in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling (http://ngcm.soton.ac.uk). For details of our 4 Year PhD programme, please see http://www.findaphd.com/search/PhDDetails.aspx?CAID=331&LID=2652.