We discuss the dynamics of a condensate in a miniaturized electromagnetic trap formed above a microstructured substrate. Recent experiments have found that trap lifetimes get reduced when approaching the substrate because atoms couple to thermally excited near fields. The data agree quantitatively with our theory [Appl. Phys. B 69, 379 (1999)]. We focus on the decoherence of a quantum degenerate gas in a quasi-one- dimensional trap. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that atom interactions reduce the condensate decoherence rate. This is explained by a simple theory in terms of the suppression of long-wavelength excitations. We present preliminary simulation results for the adiabatic generation of dark solitons
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