Quantum phase slips are the primary excitations in one-dimensional superfluids and superconductors at low temperature, but haven’t been so far detected in ultracold quantum gases. We have now studied experimentally the nucleation rate of phase slips in one-dimensional superfluids realized with ultracold quantum gases, owing along a periodic potential. We have observed a crossover between a regime of temperature-dependent dissipation at small velocity and interaction and a second regime of velocity-dependent dissipation at larger velocity and interaction. This behavior is consistent with the predicted crossover from thermally-assisted quantum phase slips to purely quantum phase slips.
L. Tanzi et al.