Two-dimensional supersolidity in a circular trap

Figure: Experimental realisation of a two-dimensional seven droplet hexagon state. (a) In-situ image of density profile. (b) Image after 36 ms time-of-flight expansion. (c,d) Corresponding theory result for the same trap. In (d), the time-of-flight expansion is estimated by a Fourier transform of the wavefunction.

Dipolar condensates were recently coaxed into supersolid phases supporting both superfluid and crystal excitations. The first dipolar supersolids consisted of one dimensional droplet arrays, and a recent experiment here achieved two dimensional supersolidity, observing the transition from a linear chain to a zig-zag configuration of droplets.

In this work, in collaboration with Prof. Luis Santos from the Leibniz University Hannover, we show that while one-dimensional supersolids may be prepared from condensates via a roton instability, such a procedure in two dimensions tends to destabilise the supersolid. By evaporatively cooling directly into the supersolid phase–hence bypassing the roton instability–we experimentally produce a 2D supersolid in a near-circular trap, an observation verified through state-of-the-art finite temperature simulations. We show that 2D roton modes have little in common with the supersolid configuration, instead, unstable rotons produce a small number of central droplets, which triggers a nonlinear process of crystal growth. We calculate excitations for a 2D supersolid ground state, and make comparisons with 1D arrays using the static structure factor. These results provide insight into the process of supersolid formation in 2D, and define a realistic path to the formation of large two-dimensional supersolid arrays.

This work is on the arXiv, and a PDF can be found here.