Commensurability and hysteretic evolution of vortex configurations in rotating optical lattices

Goldbaum, Daniel S.
Mueller, Erich J.
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We present a theoretical study of vortices within a harmonically trapped Bose-Einstein condensate in a rotating optical lattice. Due to the competition between vortex-vortex interactions and pinning to the optical lattice we find a very complicated energy landscape, which leads to hysteretic evolution. The qualitative structure of the vortex configurations depends on the commensurability between the vortex density and the site density -- with regular lattices when these are commensurate, and concentric rings when they are not. We model the imaging of these structures by calculating time-of-flight column densities. As in the absence of the optical lattice, the vortices are much more easily observed in a time-of-flight image than \emph{in-situ}.
Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures. Some, but not all, material is included in arXiv:0807.3609. A new simulation of a time-of-flight absorption image is included
Condensed Matter - Other Condensed Matter, Condensed Matter - Superconductivity