Emergent crystallinity and frustration with Bose-Einstein condensates in multimodecavities

Sarang Gopalakrishnan, Benjamin L. Lev, Paul M. Goldbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


We propose that condensed-matter phenomena involving the spontaneous emergence and dynamics of crystal lattices can be realized using Bose-Einstein condensates coupled to multimode optical cavities. It is known that, in the case of a transversely pumped single-mode cavity, the atoms crystallize at either the even or the odd antinodes of the cavity mode at sufficient pump laser intensity, thus spontaneously breaking a discrete translational symmetry. Here we demonstrate that, in multimode cavities, crystallization involves the spontaneous breaking of a continuous translational symmetry, through a variant of Brazovskiis transition, thus paving the way for realizations of compliant lattices and associated phenomena, such as dislocations, frustration, glassiness and even supersolidity, in ultracold atomic settings, where quantum effects have a dominant role. We apply a functional-integral formalism to explore the role of fluctuations in this correlated many-body system, to calculate their effect on the threshold for ordering, and to determine their imprint on the correlations of the light emitted from the cavity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-850
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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