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Analogue simulation of gravitational waves in a 3+1 -dimensional Bose-Einstein condensate

Hartley, Daniel; Bravo, Tupac; Rätzel, Dennis; Howl, Richard; Fuentes, Ivette

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Daniel Hartley

Tupac Bravo

Dennis Rätzel

Richard Howl

Ivette Fuentes


The recent detections of gravitational waves (GWs) by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations have opened the field of GW astronomy, intensifying interest in GWs and other possible detectors sensitive in different frequency ranges. Although strong GW producing events are rare and currently unpredictable, GWs can in principle be simulated in analogue systems at will in the lab. Simulation of GWs in a manifestly quantum system would allow for the study of the interaction of quantum phenomena with GWs. Such predicted interaction is exploited in a recently proposed Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) based GW detector. In this paper, we show how to manipulate a BEC to mimic the effect of a passing GW. By simultaneously varying the external potential applied to the BEC, and an external magnetic field near a Feshbach resonance, we show that the resulting change in speed of sound can directly reproduce a GW metric. We also show how to simulate a metric used in the recently proposed BEC based GW detector, to provide an environment for testing the proposed metrology scheme of the detector. Explicit expressions for simulations of various GW sources are given. This result is also useful to generally test the interaction of quantum phenomena with GWs in a curved spacetime analogue experiment.


Hartley, D., Bravo, T., Rätzel, D., Howl, R., & Fuentes, I. (2018). Analogue simulation of gravitational waves in a 3+1 -dimensional Bose-Einstein condensate. Physical Review D, 98(2), Article 025011.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 17, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 17, 2018
Publication Date Jul 15, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 7, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 10, 2018
Journal Physical Review D
Print ISSN 2470-0010
Electronic ISSN 2470-0029
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 98
Issue 2
Article Number 025011
Public URL
Publisher URL


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