Award success for Physics Professor

Published by  Communications

On 12th Aug 2021

Marcus

Dr Magnus Borgh, a lecturer in Physics at the University of East Anglia, has won an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) New Investigator Award. It will start on Monday 1 November and last for three years.  

The grant will fund a vacant Postdoctoral position that will undertake research on the theory of creation and dynamics of non-Abelian topological defects in spinor Bose-Einstein condensates.

Vortices in superfluids take on properties arising from the underlying quantum mechanics and behave very differently from whirlpools in classical fluids. Their fundamental properties arise very generically from internal symmetries of the physical system using the mathematics of topology. In this research project Dr Borgh will apply theoretical methods to study so-called non-Abelian vortices in spinor Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), where the spin of the constituent atoms plays a fundamental role. 

Vortices are described by topological charges, which are added to one another when there are multiple vortices in the condensate. However, for non-Abelian vortices, the order matters: A + B is not the same as B + A. This leads to highly counter-intuitive vortex interactions, such that if two vortices collide, they must form a new vortex that continues to connect them even as they move apart. This is not a mere curiosity: analogous objects, described by the same mathematics, can appear also in liquid crystals or in cosmological theories. Atomic BECs have the strong advantage that they are highly accessible in experiment, and are ideal systems where these exotic objects could be studied.

The central task of Dr Borgh’s project is to provide the theoretical underpinnings for this effort. We will propose specific protocols for the creation of such vortices and vortex ensembles. Using large-scale computer simulations on UEAs state-of-the-art ADA high-performance computing cluster, we can provide the observable signatures necessary for interpreting the experiments and also study the dynamics of the vortices, e.g., in scenarios that mimic processes proposed in cosmological theories.

The research will be carried out in close contact with experimental project partners at Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA.
 

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