We use analytical arguments and large-scale Monte Carlo calculations to investigate the nature of the phase transitions between distinct complex superfluid phases in a two-component Bose-Einstein condensate when a nondissipative drag between the two components is being varied. We focus on understanding the role of topological defects in various phase transitions and develop vortex-matter arguments, allowing an analytical description of the phase diagram. We find the behavior of fluctuation induced vortex matter to be much more complex and substantially different from that of single-component superfluids. We propose and numerically investigate a drag-induced “preemptive vortex loop proliferation” scenario. Such a transition may be a quite generic feature in many multicomponent systems where symmetry is restored by a gas of several kinds of competing vortex loops.
Physics Review B