Cascade of Solitonic Excitations in a Superfluid Fermi Gas

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Mark J.-H. Ku, Biswaroop Mukherjee, Tarik Yefsah, and Martin W. Zwierlein

Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 045304 (2016), arXiv:1507.01047

We follow the time evolution of a superfluid Fermi gas of resonantly interacting 6Li atoms after a phase imprint. Via tomographic imaging, we observe the formation of a planar dark soliton, its subsequent snaking, and its decay into a vortex ring, which in turn breaks to finally leave behind a single solitonic vortex. In intermediate stages we find evidence for an exotic structure resembling the Φ-soliton, a combination of a vortex ring and a vortex line. Direct imaging of the nodal surface reveals its undulation dynamics and its decay via the puncture of the initial soliton plane. The observed evolution of the nodal surface represents dynamics beyond superfluid hydrodynamics, calling for a microscopic description of unitary fermionic superfluids out of equilibrium.

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