Long-range interactions in a quantum gas mediated by diffracted light


A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) interacting with an optical field via a feedback mirror can be a realization of the quantum Hamiltonian Mean Field (HMF) model, a paradigmatic model of long-range interactions in quantum systems. We demonstrate that the self-structuring instability displayed by an initially uniform BEC can evolve as predicted by the quantum HMF model, displaying quasiperiodic “chevron” dynamics for strong driving. For weakly driven self-structuring, the BEC and optical field behave as a two-state quantum system, regularly oscillating between a spatially uniform state and a spatially periodic state. It also predicts the width of stable optomechanical droplets and the dependence of droplet width on optical pump intensity. The results presented suggest that optical diffraction-mediated interactions between atoms in a BEC may be a route to experimental realization of quantum HMF dynamics and a useful analog for studying quantum systems involving long-range interactions.

Physical Review Research