Nature Physics: Top publication honored

A cigar-shaped gas of magnetic atoms can support a roton mode: a modulation in the atom spatial organization at a given wavelength, forming a saddle on the energy mountain ridge of its elementary excitations.

Our publication on the first-time observation of roton quasiparticles in quantum gases was chosen by the editors of Nature Physics as one of their favorite papers of the past 15 years. To mark the anniversary of the journal, the most important works in the various disciplines of physics are presented. 

Rotons are massive quasi-particles which have large momenta, and, contrarily to the common (quasi)particles for which the energy increases with the momentum, the roton dispersion relation exhibits a minimum at a finite momentum. This unusual behavior expresses the tendency of the fluids to build up short-wavelength density modulation in space. In collaboration with the theory group led by Luis Santos at the University of Hannover and with Rick van Bijnen at IQOQI, our ERBIUM team could confirm the existence of rotons in dipoalr gases in 2018 for the first time. The paper with first author Lauriane Chomaz has been published in Nature Physics and is now ranked in the Web of Science as a Highly Cited Paper. These results have indicated a path to observe the paradoxical “supersolid state of matter”, immediately stimulating the experimental search of such elusive quantum phenomena. Observation of supersolidity has been reported by three independent groups (including ours) last year.

15 years of Nature Physics
by Alison Wright, Ed Gerstner, Richard Brierley, Andreas Trabesinger, May Chiao, Iulia Georgescu, Bart Verberck, Luke Fleet, Abigail Klopper, Andrea Taroni, Federico Levi, Yun Li, Jan Philip Kraack, David Abergel, Stefanie Reichert, Nina Meinzer, Elizaveta Dubrovina