The phases of matter are determined by competing interactions. For example, in our everyday experience, a fluid will be gas or liquid depending on the interplay of attractive interatomic interactions and short-range repulsion. In the case of dilute quantum fluids, the interatomic distances are much larger than the range of the interactions that bind conventional liquids; thus, this phase transition is normally not possible.
However, at these scales, the competition or cancellation of new type of interactions can give rise to exotic phases of matter with unusual characteristics. The goal of the project Unconventional Phases of Ultracold Quantum Matter with Competing Interactions (UltraComp) is to investigate novel phases in ultracold atoms originating from the interplay between the mean-field interactions with either kinetic energy (modified by spin-orbit coupling) or with intrinsic quantum fluctuations.
The proposed state-of-the-art experiments will focus on the study of three novel phases with unconventional properties: the supersolid, the ultradilute quantum droplet and the supersolid-like liquid. The study of these novel phases will help to deepen the understanding of beyond-mean-field effects in many-body systems. At the same time, the project will provide deep insight on supersolidity, thus impacting condensed-matter physics at large.
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