Research ArticlePHYSICS

Coherent perfect absorption of nonlinear matter waves

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Science Advances  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaat6539
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat6539


Coherent perfect absorption is the complete extinction of incoming radiation by a complex potential in a physical system supporting wave propagation. The concept was proven for linear waves in a variety of systems including light interacting with absorbing scatterers, plasmonic metasurfaces, and graphene films, as well as sound waves. We extend the paradigm to coherent perfect absorption of nonlinear waves and experimentally demonstrate it for matter waves in an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate. Coherent absorption of nonlinear matter waves is achieved easier than its linear analogs because the strength of two-body interactions offers additional freedom for control. Implementation of the coherent perfect absorber of Bose-Einstein condensates paves the way toward broad exploitation of the phenomenon in nonlinear optics, exciton-polariton condensates, acoustics, and other areas of nonlinear physics. It also opens perspectives for designing atom lasers.

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