Physical Review Research 2, 023102 (2020)
A. Camacho-Guardian, K. K. Nielsen, T. Pohl, and G. M. Bruun
We develop a theory for light propagating in an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate in the presence of strong interactions. The resulting many-body correlations are shown to have profound effects on the optical properties of this interacting medium. For weak atom-light coupling, there is a well-defined quasiparticle, the polaron-polariton, supporting light propagation with spectral features differing significantly from the noninteracting case. The damping of the polaron-polariton depends nonmonotonically on the light-matter coupling strength, initially increasing and then decreasing. This gives rise to an interesting crossover between two quasiparticles: a bare polariton and a polaron-polariton, separated by a complex and lossy mixture of light and matter.