Topics in Ultra-cold Bose Gases: the Bose-Hubbard Model; Analogue Models for an Expanding Universe and for an Acoustic Black Hole
In this thesis we consider the application of phase-space methods to Bose-Einstein condensates; the work comprises of three main parts: Part I: A phase-space method for the Bose-Hubbard model; Part II: An analogue model of an expanding universe in Bose-Einstein condensates. and Part III: An analogue model of an acoustic Black Hole in Bose-Einstein condensates. In part I we present a phase-space method for the Bose-Hubbard model based on the Qfunction representation. In particular, we consider two model Hamiltonians in the mean-field approximation; the first is the standard “one site” model where quantum tunneling is approximated entirely using mean-field terms; the second “two site” model explicitly includes tunneling between two adjacent sites while treating tunneling with other neighbouring sites using the meanfield approximation. The ground state is determined by minimising the classical energy functional subject to quantum mechanical constraints, which take the form of uncertainty relations. For each model Hamiltonian we compare the ground state results from the Q-function method with the exact numerical solution. The results from the Q-function method, which are easy to compute, give a good qualitative description of the main features of the Bose-Hubbard model including the superfluid to Mott insulator. We find the quantum mechanical constraints dominate the problem and show there are some limitations of the method particularly in the weak lattice regime. Analogue models of gravity have been motivated by the possibility of investigating phenomena not readily accessible in their cosmological counterparts. In particular, the prediction of quasiparticle creation in ultra-cold Bose gases in specific configurations can be viewed as an analogue to either cosmological particle creation or the Hawking effect. In part II of this thesis we investigate the analogue of cosmological particle creation in an expanding universe by numerically simulating a Bose-Einstein condensate with a time-dependent scattering length. In particular, we simulate a 2D homogeneous condensate using the classical field method via the truncated Wigner approximation. We show that for several different expansion scenarios the calculated particle production is consistent with the underlying theory. For inflationary models we find the particle production for long wavelength modes coincides with the analytic theory within the acoustic approximation, whereas the particle production is suppressed for short wavelength (ie. free-particle like) modes. Moreover, particle production is enhanced for faster expansions, approaching the analytic result for the sudden expansion in the limit of a very fast expansion. For the case of a cyclic expansion, particle production peaks for a mode frequency that is approximately half of the driving frequency as expected for parametric resonance. In part III of this thesis we investigate an acoustic black hole in a Bose-Einstein condensate, formed by two de Laval nozzles in a ring configuration — a system we refer to as the quantum de Laval nozzle. Our model is formulated in one dimension with a sinusoidal potential. For nonzero superfluid flow, this system can exhibit stable transonic flow with both black and white hole sonic horizons. Stationary states are found by solving the time-independent Gross-Pitaevskii equation subject to a phase quantisation constraint. By solving the projected Bogoliubov-de Gennes equations for the system, we also find the discrete spectrum and quasiparticle modes. There are dynamical instabilities for certain values of winding number and potential depth, for which it is possible to construct pairs of normalisable modes. We further investigate the dynamics of the system using a classical field method based on the truncated Wigner approximation. For a low winding number and unstable configuration, we find exponential growth for the pair of unstable modes, whereas there is no growth in these modes for a stable configuration. This can be interpreted as non-degenerate parametric amplification, valid for short times. In contrast, for a large winding number, there is significant growth in modes for both stable and unstable configurations. This is indicative of higher order processes neglected in the quasiparticle picture, which is further reinforced by that fact that large winding number solutions require large nonlinearities. Finally, we consider the connection of our results with the usual semi-classical prediction of the Hawking effect. For an unstable configuration, the normalised unstable modes couple equal and opposite real frequencies, so that the growth in these modes represents the closest analogy with the Hawking effect for our quantum system.