Observation of Anisotropic Superfluid Density in an Artificial Crystal
We experimentally and theoretically investigate the anisotropic speed of sound of an atomic superfluid (SF) Bose-Einstein condensate in a 1D optical lattice. Because the speed of sound derives from the SF density, this implies that the SF density is itself anisotropic. We find that the speed of sound is decreased by the optical lattice, and the SF density is concomitantly reduced. This reduction is accompanied by the appearance of a zero entropy normal fluid in the purely Bose condensed phase. The reduction in SF density—first predicted [A. J. Leggett, Phys. Rev. Lett. 25, 1543 (1970).] in the context of supersolidity—results from the coexistence of superfluidity and density modulations, but is agnostic about the origin of the modulations. We additionally measure the moment of inertia of the system in a scissors mode experiment, demonstrating the existence of rotational flow. As such we shed light on some supersolid properties using imposed, rather than spontaneously formed, density order.
Observation of anisotropic superfluid density in an artificial crystal; J. Tao, M. Zhao, and I. B. Spielman; Phys. Rev. Lett. 131 163401 (2023). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.131.163401; Featured in Physics