Dispersive and classical shock waves in Bose-Einstein condensates and gas dynamics
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A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is a quantum fluid that gives rise to
interesting shock wave nonlinear dynamics. Experiments depict a BEC that
exhibits behavior similar to that of a shock wave in a compressible gas, eg.
traveling fronts with steep gradients. However, the governing Gross-Pitaevskii
(GP) equation that describes the mean field of a BEC admits no dissipation
hence classical dissipative shock solutions do not explain the phenomena.
Instead, wave dynamics with small dispersion is considered and it is shown that
this provides a mechanism for the generation of a dispersive shock wave (DSW).
Computations with the GP equation are compared to experiment with excellent
agreement. A comparison between a canonical 1D dissipative and dispersive shock
problem shows significant differences in shock structure and shock front speed.
Numerical results associated with the three dimensional experiment show that
three and two dimensional approximations are in excellent agreement and one
dimensional approximations are in good qualitative agreement. Using one
dimensional DSW theory it is argued that the experimentally observed blast
waves may be viewed as dispersive shock waves.
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