Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 5-7-2001

Publication Title

Physical Review Letters

ISSN

0031-9007

Volume

86

Issue

19

First Page

4211

Last Page

4214

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.4211

Abstract

The point of instability of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) due to attractive interactions was studied. Stable 85Rb BECs were created and then caused to collapse by slowly changing the atom-atom interaction from repulsive to attractive using a Feshbach resonance. At a critical value, an abrupt transition was observed in which atoms were ejected from the condensate. By measuring the onset of this transition as a function of number and attractive interaction strength, we determined the stability condition to be N|a|/aho=0.459±0.012±0.054, slightly lower than the predicted value of 0.574.

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