Topological defects in superfluids and other physical systems (PROMENTD_U18SF)

University of East Anglia
September 08 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

This PhD project aims to study the dynamics of topological defects in superfluids and eventually make comparisons with the ones observed in other physical systems. The research methodology will be interdisciplinary involving background knowledge of applied mathematics, physics and computer science.

Superfluids are fluids characterised by the absence of viscosity and by the presence of topological defects called quantum vortices. Superfluidity usually manifests at low temperature and it is a consequence of quantum mechanics.

Several open questions regarding the static and dynamical properties of topological defects in superfluids need to be answered. Dr Proment has a list of ongoing projects in this topic involving international collaboration. Depending on the student's background and main interests, the research will focus on:

  1. How the energy is transferred from coherent structures (topological defects) to incoherent phonon radiation (sound) in Bose-Einstein condensates following vortex reconnections and Kelvin wave excitations (with G. Krstulovic at Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, France and S. Nazarenko at Warwick University, UK);

  2. What are the decay mechanisms of topologically complex vortex configurations like knots and links in superfluids (with W. Irvine at University of Chicago, US);

  3. What are the dynamical properties of defects arising physical systems characterized by non-Abelian symmetries (with S. Krusch at University of Kent, UK);

  4. How topological defects form due to the interaction with moving potential or external objects (with S. Rica at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Chile);

  5. How solitary waves form and break on superfluid vortex lines (with M Onorato at Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy).

For detailed information please contact directly Dr Proment at 

Funding notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess