Quantum flutter of supersonic particles in one-dimensional quantum liquids

Charles J. M. Mathy 1, Mikhail B. Zvonarev 1, 2, Eugene Demler 1

Nature Physics 8 (2012) 881-886

The non-equilibrium dynamics of strongly correlated many-body systems exhibits some of the most puzzling phenomena and challenging problems in condensed matter physics. Here we report on essentially exact results on the time evolution of an impurity injected at a finite velocity into a one-dimensional quantum liquid. We provide the first quantitative study of the formation of the correlation hole around a particle in a strongly coupled many-body quantum system, and find that the resulting correlated state does not come to a complete stop but reaches a steady state which propagates at a finite velocity. We also uncover a novel physical phenomenon when the impurity is injected at supersonic velocities: the correlation hole undergoes long-lived coherent oscillations around the impurity, an effect we call quantum flutter. We provide a detailed understanding and an intuitive physical picture of these intriguing discoveries, and propose an experimental setup where this physics can be realized and probed directly.

  • 1. Department of Physics,
    University of Harvard
  • 2. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud