A new type of half-quantum circulation in a macroscopic polariton spinor ring condensate

Liu, Gangqiang and Snoke, David W. and Daley, Andrew and Pfeiffer, Loren N. and West, Ken (2015) A new type of half-quantum circulation in a macroscopic polariton spinor ring condensate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (9). pp. 2676-2681. ISSN 0027-8424

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    Abstract

    We report the observation of coherent circulation in a macroscopic Bose-Einstein condensate of polaritons in a ring geometry. Because they are spinor condensates, half-quanta are allowed in where there is a phase rotation of Π in connection with a polarization vector rotation of Π around a closed path. This half-quantum behavior is clearly seen in the experimental observations of the polarization rotation around the ring. In our ring geometry, the half-quantum state that we see is one in which the handedness of the spin flips from one side of the ring to the other side in addition to the rotation of the linear polarization component; such a state is allowed in a ring geometry but will not occur in a simply connected geometry. This state is lower in energy than a half-quantum state with no change of the spin direction and corresponds to a superposition of two different elementary half-quantum states. The direction of circulation of the flow around the ring fluctuates randomly between clockwise and counterclockwise from one shot to the next; this fluctuation corresponds to spontaneous breaking of time-reversal symmetry in the system. This type of macroscopic polariton ring condensate allows for the possibility of direct control of the circulation to excite higher quantized states and the creation of Josephson junction tunneling barriers.