Observation of Microcanonical Atom Number Fluctuations in a Bose-Einstein Condensate

M. B. Christensen, T. Vibel, A. J. Hilliard, M. B. Kruk, K. Pawłowski, D. Hryniuk, K. Rzążewski, M. A. Kristensen, J. J. Arlt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantum systems are typically characterized by the inherent fluctuation of their physical observables. Despite this fundamental importance, the investigation of the fluctuations in interacting quantum systems at finite temperature continues to pose considerable theoretical and experimental challenges. Here we report the characterization of atom number fluctuations in weakly interacting Bose-Einstein condensates. Technical fluctuations are mitigated through a combination of nondestructive detection and active stabilization of the cooling sequence. We observe fluctuations reduced by 27% below the canonical expectation for a noninteracting gas, revealing the microcanonical nature of our system. The peak fluctuations have near linear scaling with atom number ΔN0,p2∝N1.134 in an experimentally accessible transition region outside the thermodynamic limit. Our experimental results thus set a benchmark for theoretical calculations under typical experimental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153601
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 12 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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