From attractive to repulsive interaction in a bosonic Josephson Junction

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We explore the interplay between tunneling and interatomic interactions in the dynamics of a bosonic Josephson junction. We tune the scattering length of an atomic K39 Bose-Einstein condensate confined in a double-well trap to investigate regimes inaccessible to other superconducting or superfluid systems. In the limit of small-amplitude oscillations, we study the transition from Rabi to plasma oscillations by crossing over from attractive to repulsive interatomic interactions. We observe a critical slowing down in the oscillation frequency by increasing the strength of an attractive interaction up to the point of a quantum phase transition. With sufficiently large initial oscillation amplitude and repulsive interactions, the system enters the macroscopic quantum self-trapping regime, where we observe coherent undamped oscillations with a self-sustained average imbalance of the relative well population. The exquisite agreement between theory and experiments enables the observation of a broad range of many body coherent dynamical regimes driven by tunable tunneling energy, interactions and external forces, with applications spanning from atomtronics to quantum metrology.

G. Spagnolli, et al.,
Crossing Over from Attractive to Repulsive Interactions in a Tunneling Bosonic Josephson Junction
Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 230403 (2017)