Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Shiwei Zhang


We formulate a quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) method for calculating the ground state of many-boson systems. The method is based on a field-theoretical approach, and is closely related to existing fermion auxiliary-field QMC methods which are applied in several fields of physics. The ground-state projection is implemented as a branching random walk in the space of permanents consisting of identical single-particle orbitals. Any single-particle basis can be used, and the method is in principle exact. We apply this method to an atomic Bose gas, where the atoms interact via an attractive or repulsive contact two-body potential parametrized by the s-wave scattering length. We choose as the single-particle basis a real-space grid. We compare with exact results in small systems, and arbitrarily-sized systems of untrapped bosons with attractive interactions in one dimension, where analytical solutions exist. Our method provides a way to systematically improve upon the mean-field Gross-Pitaevskii (GP) method while using the same framework, capturing interaction and correlation effects with a stochastic, coherent ensemble of non-interacting solutions. to study the role of many-body correlations in the ground state, we examine the properties of the gas, such as the energetics, condensate fraction, and the density and momentum distributions as a function of the number of particles and the scattering length, both in the homogenous and trapped gases. Results are presented for systems with up to 1000 bosons. Comparing our results to the mean-field GP results, we find significant departure from mean field at large positive scattering lengths. The many-body correlations tend to increase the kinetic energy and reduce the interaction energy compared to GP. In the trapped gases, this results in a qualitatively different behavior as a function of the scattering length. Possible experimental observation is discussed.



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