Phase transition of a Bose gas in a harmonic potential

Damle, K. ; Senthil, T. ; Majumdar, S. N. ; Sachdev, S. (1996) Phase transition of a Bose gas in a harmonic potential Europhysics Letters, 36 (1). No pp. given. ISSN 0295-5075

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We consider a Bose gas confined by a harmonic potential. We define an appropriate thermodynamic limit and analyze the properties of the phases and phase transition in this limit. Critical properties in the presence of the potential are found to be different from, though simply related to, those in the usual translationally invariant case. We argue that the properties of magnetically trapped rubidium and sodium gases (in which Bose-Einstein condensation has recently been observed) are well approximated by our thermodynamic limit except in a narrow window of temperature around the critical temperature. We also consider the effect of the confining potential on the non-equilibrium dynamics following a rapid quench to the ordered side and give a scaling description of the late-time universal dynamics.

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