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Phase diagram for strong-coupling Bose polarons

Arthur Christianen, J. Ignacio Cirac, Richard Schmidt

SciPost Phys. 16, 067 (2024) · published 5 March 2024


Important properties of complex quantum many-body systems and their phase diagrams can often already be inferred from the impurity limit. The Bose polaron problem describing an impurity atom immersed in a Bose-Einstein condensate is a paradigmatic example. The interplay between the impurity-mediated attraction between the bosons and their intrinsic repulsion makes this model rich and interesting, but also complex to describe theoretically. To tackle this challenge, we develop a quantum chemistry-inspired computational technique and compare two variational methods that fully include both the boson-impurity and interboson interactions. We find one regime where the impurity-mediated interactions overcome the repulsion between the bosons, so that a sweep of the boson-impurity interaction strength leads to an instability of the polaron due to the formation of many-body clusters. If instead the interboson interactions dominate, the impurity will experience a crossover from a polaron into a few-body bound state. We achieve a unified understanding incorporating both of these regimes and show that they are experimentally accessible. Moreover, we develop an analytical model that allows us to interpret these phenomena in the Landau framework of phase transitions, revealing a deep connection of the Bose polaron model to both few- and many-body physics.

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