Decay of a Quantum Knot

T. Ollikainen (Corresponding Author), A. Blinova, M. Möttönen, D. S. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We experimentally study the dynamics of quantum knots in a uniform magnetic field in spin-1 Bose-Einstein condensates. The knot is created in the polar magnetic phase, which rapidly undergoes a transition toward the ferromagnetic phase in the presence of the knot. The magnetic order becomes scrambled as the system evolves, and the knot disappears. Strikingly, over long evolution times, the knot decays into a polar-core spin vortex, which is a member of a class of singular SO(3) vortices. The polar-core spin vortex is stable with an observed lifetime comparable to that of the condensate itself. The structure is similar to that predicted to appear in the evolution of an isolated monopole defect, suggesting a possible universality in the observed topological transition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number163003
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


We acknowledge funding by the Academy of Finland through its Centre of Excellence Program (Grant No. 312300), by the European Research Council under Consolidator Grant No. 681311 (QUESS), by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, and the NSF (Grants No. PHY-1519174 and No. PHY-1806318). CSC-IT Center for Science Ltd. (Project No. ay2090) and Aalto Science-IT project are acknowledged for computational resources.


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