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Publication# Quantum phase transitions in low-dimensional weakly interacting disordered Bose gases

Abstract

In this thesis, we study the quantum phase transition triggered by an external random po- tential in ultra-cold low-dimensional weakly-interacting Bose gases at zero temperature. In one-dimensional systems, the quantum phases are characterized by the decay at long-range of the one-body density matrix. This decay exhibits an algebraic behaviour in the superfluid quasi-condensed phase while in the insulating Bose glass phase this it becomes exponen- tial, signaling the complete loss of coherence in the system. In two-dimensional systems, a characterization based on the long-range behaviour of the one-body density matrix appears to be highly demanding from a computational point of view. We therefore characterized the superfluid-insulator transition in two-dimensional systems by the low-energy behaviour of the cumulative density of states of the Bogoliubov excitations. While in the superfluid condensed phase this quantity grows as the square of the excitation energy in agreement with the existence of a finite velocity of sound, in the insulating Bose glass phase this power law is less than quadratic. This study is performed in the framework of an extended Bogoliubov approach properly adapted to treat low-dimensional Bose gases. Using a systematic numerical study, we draw the interaction-disorder phase diagrams of the superfluid-insulator transition in 1D and 2D. The phase boundary follows two different power- laws depending on the length scales characterizing the spatial correlations of the disorder and the strength of interactions. The power-law exponents were found to be in agreement with the ones predicted by scaling arguments, both in the white noise and the Thomas-Fermi regimes. In the two-dimensional system, the classical percolation threshold in the Thomas-Fermi limit was found to overestimate the critical disorder below which the onset of superfluidity should be observed for a given interaction strength.

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Related publications (2)

Related concepts (18)

Superfluidity

Superfluidity is the characteristic property of a fluid with zero viscosity which therefore flows without any loss of kinetic energy. When stirred, a superfluid forms vortices that continue to rotate indefinitely. Superfluidity occurs in two isotopes of helium (helium-3 and helium-4) when they are liquefied by cooling to cryogenic temperatures. It is also a property of various other exotic states of matter theorized to exist in astrophysics, high-energy physics, and theories of quantum gravity.

Quantum phase transition

In physics, a quantum phase transition (QPT) is a phase transition between different quantum phases (phases of matter at zero temperature). Contrary to classical phase transitions, quantum phase transitions can only be accessed by varying a physical parameter—such as magnetic field or pressure—at absolute zero temperature. The transition describes an abrupt change in the ground state of a many-body system due to its quantum fluctuations. Such a quantum phase transition can be a second-order phase transition.

Density matrix

In quantum mechanics, a density matrix (or density operator) is a matrix that describes the quantum state of a physical system. It allows for the calculation of the probabilities of the outcomes of any measurement performed upon this system, using the Born rule. It is a generalization of the more usual state vectors or wavefunctions: while those can only represent pure states, density matrices can also represent mixed states.

Vincenzo Savona, Pierre Lugan, Joseph Saliba

An iterative scheme based on the kernel polynomial method is devised for the efficient computation of the one-body density matrix of weakly interacting Bose gases within Bogoliubov theory. This scheme is used to analyze the coherence properties of disordered bosons in one and two dimensions. In the one-dimensional geometry, we examine the quantum phase transition between superfluid and Bose glass at weak interactions, and we recover the scaling of the phase boundary that was characterized using a direct spectral approach by Fontanesi et al (2010 Phys. Rev. A 81 053603). The kernel polynomial scheme is also used to study the disorder-induced condensate depletion in the two-dimensional geometry. Our approach paves the way for an analysis of coherence properties of Bose gases across the superfluid-insulator transition in two and three dimensions.

This thesis is devoted to the study of the effect of disorder on low-dimensional weakly interacting Bose gases. In particular, the disorder triggers a quantum phase transition in one dimension at zero temperature that is investigated here through the study of the long-range behaviour of the one-body density matrix. An algebraic spatial decay of the coherence marks the quasicondensate, whereas, in the case of strong disorder, an exponential decay is recovered and it characterizes the insulating Bose-glass phase. This analysis is performed using an extended Bogoliubov theory to treat low dimensional Bose gases within a density-phase approach. A systematic numerical study allowed to draw the phase diagram of 1D weakly interacting bosons. The phase boundary obeys two different power laws between interaction and disorder strength depending on the regime of the gas where the transition occurs. These relations can be explained by means of scaling arguments valid in the white noise limit and in the Thomas-Fermi regime of the Bose gas. The phase transition to a quasicondensed phase comes along with the onset of superfluidity: the inspection of the superfluid fraction of the gas is consistent with these predictions for the boundary. The finite temperature case and the scenario in two dimensions are briefly discussed. The quantum phase transition is caused by low-energy phase fluctuations that destroy the quasi-long-range order characterizing the uniform system. Within the approach presented here, the phase fluctuations are identified as the low-lying Bogoliubov modes. Their properties have been investigated in detail to understand which changes trigger the phase transition and we found that the transition to the insulating phase is accompanied by a diverging density of states and a localization length, measured through the inverse participation ratio, that diverges as a power-law with power – 1 for vanishing energy. The fragmentation of the gas is also studied: this notion is very often associated with the onset of the insulating phase. The characterization of the density fragmentation is performed by analyzing the probability distribution of the density. A density profile is defined as fragmented when the probability distribution at vanishing density is finite or divergent and this happens for a gas in the Bose-glass phase. On the contrary, the superfluid phase is characterized by a zero limiting probability of having vanishing densities. This definition is derived analytically, and confirmed by a numerical study. This fragmentation criterion is particularly suited for detecting the phase transition in experiments: when a harmonic trap is included, the transition to the insulating phase can be extracted from the statistics of the local density distribution.