Observation of dynamical instability for a BEC in a moving lattice

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We have experimentally studied the unstable dynamics of a harmonically trapped Bose-Einstein condensate loaded into a 1D moving optical lattice. The lifetime of the condensate in such a potential exhibits a dramatic dependence on the quasimomentum state. This is unambiguously attributed to the onset of dynamical instability, after a comparison with the predictions of the Gross-Pitaevskii theory. Deeply in the unstable region we observe the rapid appearance of complex structures in the atomic density profile, as a consequence of the condensate phase uniformity breakdown.

L. Fallani et al.
Observation of Dynamical Instability for a Bose-Einstein Condensate in a Moving 1D Optical Lattice
Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 140406 (2004)