[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two-dimensional (2D) systems play a special role in many-body physics.
Because of thermal fluctuations, they cannot undergo a conventional phase
transition associated to the breaking of a continuous symmetry. Nevertheless
they may exhibit a phase transition to a state with quasi-long range order via
the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) mechanism. A paradigm example is the
2D Bose fluid, such as a liquid helium film, which cannot Bose-condense at
non-zero temperature although it becomes superfluid above a critical phase
space density. Ultracold atomic gases constitute versatile systems in which the
2D quasi-long range coherence and the microscopic nature of the BKT transition
were recently explored. However, a direct observation of superfluidity in terms
of frictionless flow is still missing for these systems. Here we probe the
superfluidity of a 2D trapped Bose gas with a moving obstacle formed by a
micron-sized laser beam. We find a dramatic variation of the response of the
fluid, depending on its degree of degeneracy at the obstacle location. In
particular we do not observe any significant heating in the central, highly
degenerate region if the velocity of the obstacle is below a critical value.