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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Aug 22;91(8):080405. Epub 2003 Aug 22.

Modulational instability and complex dynamics of confined matter-wave solitons.

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Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia, Unità di Milano, Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Milano, Via Celoria 16, 20133 Milan, Italy.


We study the formation of bright solitons in a Bose-Einstein condensate of 7Li atoms induced by a sudden change in the sign of the scattering length from positive to negative, as reported in a recent experiment [Nature (London) 417, 150 (2002)]]. The numerical simulations are performed by using the Gross-Pitaevskii equation with a dissipative three-body term. We show that a number of bright solitons is produced and this can be interpreted in terms of the modulational instability of the time-dependent macroscopic wave function of the Bose condensate. In particular, we derive a simple formula for the number of solitons that is in good agreement with the numerical results. We find that during the motion of the soliton train in an axial harmonic potential the number of solitonic peaks changes in time and the density of individual peaks shows an intermittent behavior.

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