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The phases of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) with light-induced spin-orbit coupling (SOC) are studied within the mean-field approximation. The mixed BEC phase, in which the system condenses in a superposition of two plane-wave states, is found to be stable for sufficiently small light-atom coupling, becoming unstable in a continuous fashion with increasing light-atom coupling. The structure of the phase diagram at fixed chemical potential for bosons with SOC is shown to imply an unusual density dependence for a trapped mixed BEC phase, the density of one dressed spin state increasing with increasing radius, providing a unique experimental signature of this state. The collective Bogoliubov sound mode is shown to also provide a signature of the mixed BEC state, vanishing as the boundary to the regime of phase separation is approached. © 2013 American Physical Society.

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Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics