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Supersolids: unveiling an extraordinary quantum phase of matter

Objective

Supersolids are a paradoxical quantum phase of matter that combines the properties of superfluids and crystals, searched for long time in quantum solids and many other systems. Recently, we discovered a novel cluster phase in a quantum gas of magnetic atoms which realizes a supersolid. However, the limited size, the inhomogeneity, and the lack of appropriate detection methods have allowed so far to assess only very basic properties of supersolids.
Here I propose an innovative density-phase microscope and original ideas that combine the best of matter-wave and condensed-matter methods to unveil the extraordinary properties of supersolids. With a two-layer superfluid-supersolid configuration we will measure both density and phase of the supersolid. With controllable optical potentials we will realize large, homogeneous crystal geometries in 1D and 2D. With high-resolution optical addressing we will manipulate locally the wavefunction, e. g. creating phase patterns or force fields, and we will follow the local dynamics.
Our main goal is to explore fundamental properties that are largely unknown even theoretically: variable superfluid density under rotation; variable angular momentum of quantized vortices; dissipation-less deformation of the crystal; Josephson effect without barriers; quantum entanglement properties.
We will also attempt the realization of new types of supersolid, to prove the generality of the phenomena: with coupled supersolid layers, we will move towards supersolidity in 3D; using a quasi-2D environment, we will attempt to realize two proposed types of strongly interacting and strongly correlated supersolids.
Our work will establish connections between supersolids and other patterned quantum phases, such as pair-density waves in superconductors and in helium superfluids, intertwined phases in low-dimensional superfluids, and pasta phases in neutron stars. Our work might open directions for the realization of materials with novel functionalities.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI FIRENZE
Net EU contribution
€ 1 690 000,00
Address
Piazza san marco 4
50121 Florence
Italy

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Region
Centro (IT) Toscana Firenze
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (3)