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AG Prof. T. Schaetz 
Physikalisches Institut 
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg 
Hermann-Herder-Str. 3 
79104 Freiburg 
 
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Kinks - Simulating Discrete Solitons

Jonathan Brox, Philip Kiefer, and Tobias Schaetz

introduction 

    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. 

Kinks

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.

 

our tools in the lab

 

further reading

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