Quantized Vortices in an Exciton-Polariton Condensate
One of the most striking quantum effects in an interacting Bose gas at low temperature is superfluidity. First observed in liquid 4He, this phenomenon has been intensively studied in a variety of systems for its remarkable features such as the persistence of superflows and the proliferation of quantized vortices. The achievement of Bose–Einstein condensation in dilute atomic gases provided the opportunity to observe and study superfluidity in an extremely clean and well-controlled environment. In the solid state, Bose–Einstein condensation of exciton polaritons has been reported recently. Polaritons are strongly interacting light–matter quasiparticles that occur naturally in semiconductor microcavities in the strong-coupling regime and constitute an interesting example of composite bosons. Here, we report the observation of spontaneous formation of pinned quantized vortices in the Bose-condensed phase of a polariton fluid. Theoretical insight into the possible origin of such vortices is presented in terms of a generalized Gross–Pitaevskii equation. Whereas the observation of quantized vortices is, in itself, not sufficient for establishing the superfluid nature of the non-equilibrium polariton condensate, it suggests parallels between our system and conventional superfluids.