Parametric Instability Rates in Periodically Driven Band Systems

May 8, 2017

At very low temperatures, quantum matter can show radically different, and often counterintuitive, behavior compared to traditional liquids, solids, and gases. Such quantum phases of matter (e.g., superfluids and superconductors) are used in practical applications such as levitating trains and medical imaging. In the field of quantum simulation, researchers are attempting to engineer phases of matter that are even more exotic. One appealing approach is to start with a standard quantum fluid and "drive it" by shaking it, rotating it, or subjecting it to an external field. However, this method faces a serious difficulty: the phase is unstable.

A group of physicists from Université Libre de Bruxelles, Boston University, and Harvard, including Prof. Eugene Demler, have developed mathematical tools that reveal the origin and signatures of these instabilities that are directly relevant to current experiments. Their research is published in the latest issue of Physical Review X.

Understanding how quantum systems respond to an external drive, and the mechanisms through which such systems destabilize, will ultimately allow for the development of robust engineered quantum setups that are immune to instabilities and heating processes. This is not only crucial for our understanding of quantum matter but also for technological applications such as quantum computing.

See S. Lellouch, M. Bukov, E. Demler, and N. Goldman, "Parametric Instability Rates in Periodically Driven Band Systems,"Phys. Rev. X 7, 021015 (5 May 2017) DOI: