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Kinks - Simulating Discrete Solitons

Jonathan Brox, Philip Kiefer, and Tobias Schaetz


    In collaboration with Tel-Aviv University and IPhT, CEA Saclay   we study experimentally and theoretically structural defects, which are formed during the transition from a laser cooled ion cloud to a Coulomb crystal, consisting of tens of ions. We demonstrate the creation of predicted topological defects (`kinks') in purely two-dimensional crystals, and also find kinks which show novel dynamical features in a regime of parameters not considered before. 


The kinks are always observed at the centre of the trap, showing a large nonlinear localized excitation, and the probability of their occurrence surprisingly saturates at ~0.5. Simulations reveal a strong anharmonicity of the kink's internal mode of vibration, due to the kink's extension into three dimensions. As a consequence, the periodic Peierls-Nabarro potential experienced by a discrete kink becomes a globally confining potential, capable of trapping one cooled defect at the center of the crystal.


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further reading

     Ch. Schneider, D. Porras, T. Schaetz
     Rep. Prog. Phys. 75, 024401 (2012)
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