We study (by an exact numerical scheme) the single-particle density matrix of ∼103 ultracold atoms in an optical lattice with a parabolic confining potential. Our simulation is directly relevant to the interpretation and further development of the recent pioneering experiment by Greiner et al., Nature, (London) 415, 39 (2002). In particular, we show that restructuring of the spatial distribution of the superfluid component when a domain of Mott-insulator phase appears in the system, results in a fine structure of the particle momentum distribution. This feature may be used to locate the point of the superfluid–Mott-insulator transition.
Physics Letters A