Polarons and bipolarons in a two-dimensional square lattice

Shanshan Ding, G. A. Domínguez-Castro, Aleksi Julku, Arturo Camacho-Guardian, Georg M. Bruun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Quasiparticles and their interactions are a key part of our understanding of quantum many-body systems. Quantum simulation experiments with cold atoms have in recent years advanced our understanding of isolated quasiparticles, but so far they have provided limited information regarding their interactions and possible bound states. Here, we show how exploring mobile impurities immersed in a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in a two-dimensional lattice can address this problem. First, the spectral properties of individual impurities are examined, and in addition to the attractive and repulsive polarons known from continuum gases, we identify a new kind of quasiparticle stable for repulsive boson-impurity interactions. The spatial properties of polarons are calculated showing that there is an increased density of bosons at the site of the impurity both for repulsive and attractive interactions. We then derive an effective Schrödinger equation describing two polarons interacting via the exchange of density oscillations in the BEC, which takes into account strong impurity-boson two-body correlations. Using this, we show that the attractive nature of the effective interaction between two polarons combined with the two-dimensionality of the lattice leads to the formation of bound states - i.e. bipolarons. The wave functions of the bipolarons are examined showing that the ground state is symmetric under particle exchange and therefore relevant for bosonic impurities, whereas the first excited state is doubly degenerate and odd under particle exchange making it relevant for fermionic impurities. Our results show that quantum gas microscopy in optical lattices is a promising platform to explore the spatial properties of polarons as well as to finally observe the elusive bipolarons.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA3
JournalSciPost Physics
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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