Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 11-19-2001

Publication Title

Physical Review Letters

ISSN

0031-9007

Volume

87

Issue

21

First Page

210403-1

Last Page

210403-4

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevLett.87.210403

Abstract

We have developed an evaporative cooling technique that accelerates the rotation of an ultracold 87Rb gas, confined in a static harmonic potential. As a normal gas is evaporatively spun up and cooled below quantum degeneracy, it is found to nucleate vorticity in a Bose-Einstein condensate. Measurements of the condensate’s aspect ratio and surface-wave excitations are consistent with effective rigid-body rotation. Rotation rates of up to 94% of the centrifugal limit are inferred. A threshold in the normal cloud’s rotation is observed for the intrinsic nucleation of the first vortex. The threshold value lies below the prediction for a nucleation mechanism involving the excitation of surface waves of the condensate.

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