6 - Theory of the condensed state  pp. 159-181

Theory of the condensed state

By C. J. Pethick and H. Smith

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In the present chapter we consider the structure of the Bose–Einstein condensed state in the presence of interactions. Our discussion is based on the Gross–Pitaevskii equation, which describes the zero-temperature properties of the non-uniform Bose gas when the scattering length a is much less than the mean interparticle spacing. We shall first derive the Gross–Pitaevskii equation at zero temperature by treating the interaction between particles in a mean-field approximation (Sec. 6.1). Following that, in Sec. 6.2 we discuss the ground state of atomic clouds in a harmonic-oscillator potential. We compare results obtained by variational methods with those derived in the Thomas–Fermi approximation, in which the kinetic energy operator is neglected in the Gross–Pitaevskii equation. The Thomas–Fermi approximation fails near the surface of a cloud, and in Sec. 6.3 we calculate the surface structure using the Gross–Pitaevskii equation. In Sec. 6.4 we determine how the condensate wave function ‘heals’ when subjected to a localized disturbance. Finally, in Sec. 6.5 we show how the magnetic dipole–dipole interaction, which is long-ranged and anisotropic, may be included in the Gross–Pitaevskii equation and determine within the Thomas–Fermi approximation its effect on the density distribution.

The Gross–Pitaevskii equation

In the previous chapter we have shown that the effective interaction between two particles at low energies is a constant in the momentum representation, U0 = 4πħ2a/m.