Paper on Self-bound droplet clusters in laser-driven Bose-Einstein condensates

Phys. Rev. A 103, 023308 (2021)

Y.-C. Zhang, V. Walther, and T. Pohl

We investigate a two-dimensional Bose-Einstein condensate that is optically driven via a retro-reflecting mirror, forming a single optical feedback loop. This induces a peculiar type of long-range atomic interaction with highly oscillatory behavior, and we show here how the sign of the underlying interaction potential can be controlled by additional optical elements and external fields. This additional tunability enriches the behavior of the system substantially and gives rise to a surprising range of ground states of the condensate. In particular, we find the emergence of self-bound crystals of quantum droplets with various lattice structures, from simple and familiar triangular arrays to complex superlattice structures and crystals with entirely broken rotational symmetry. This includes mesoscopic clusters composed of small numbers of quantum droplets as well as extended crystalline structures. Importantly, such ordered states are entirely self-bound and stable without any external in-plane confinement, having no counterpart to other quantum-gas settings with long-range atomic interactions.