Solitons are self-focusing wave packets that can propagate over long distances without change in shape, and emerge from collisions unaltered. Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) can support either "bright" or "dark" soliton solutions, depending on whether the atomic interactions are attractive or repulsive, respectively. The goal of this project is to study the formation and dynamics of bright matter-wave solitons using Rb-85 condensates.
Solitons form well localised, self-stable atomic wave packets which have been shown to be promising candidates for interferometry. Another aim of our project is to investigate the splitting and subsequent recombination of a soliton by a narrow repulsive barrier in order to assess the practicality of creating such a soliton interferometer.