Quantum Phase Transition in a Low-Dimensional Weakly Interacting Bose Gas

This thesis is devoted to the study of the effect of disorder on low-dimensional weakly interacting Bose gases. In particular, the disorder triggers a quantum phase transition in one dimension at zero temperature that is investigated here through the study of the long-range behaviour of the one-body density matrix. An algebraic spatial decay of the coherence marks the quasicondensate, whereas, in the case of strong disorder, an exponential decay is recovered and it characterizes the insulating Bose-glass phase. This analysis is performed using an extended Bogoliubov theory to treat low dimensional Bose gases within a density-phase approach. A systematic numerical study allowed to draw the phase diagram of 1D weakly interacting bosons. The phase boundary obeys two different power laws between interaction and disorder strength depending on the regime of the gas where the transition occurs. These relations can be explained by means of scaling arguments valid in the white noise limit and in the Thomas-Fermi regime of the Bose gas. The phase transition to a quasicondensed phase comes along with the onset of superfluidity: the inspection of the superfluid fraction of the gas is consistent with these predictions for the boundary. The finite temperature case and the scenario in two dimensions are briefly discussed. The quantum phase transition is caused by low-energy phase fluctuations that destroy the quasi-long-range order characterizing the uniform system. Within the approach presented here, the phase fluctuations are identified as the low-lying Bogoliubov modes. Their properties have been investigated in detail to understand which changes trigger the phase transition and we found that the transition to the insulating phase is accompanied by a diverging density of states and a localization length, measured through the inverse participation ratio, that diverges as a power-law with power – 1 for vanishing energy. The fragmentation of the gas is also studied: this notion is very often associated with the onset of the insulating phase. The characterization of the density fragmentation is performed by analyzing the probability distribution of the density. A density profile is defined as fragmented when the probability distribution at vanishing density is finite or divergent and this happens for a gas in the Bose-glass phase. On the contrary, the superfluid phase is characterized by a zero limiting probability of having vanishing densities. This definition is derived analytically, and confirmed by a numerical study. This fragmentation criterion is particularly suited for detecting the phase transition in experiments: when a harmonic trap is included, the transition to the insulating phase can be extracted from the statistics of the local density distribution.

Related material