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Dislocation-position fluctuations in solid 4He as collective variables in a quantum crystal

Quantum behavior at mesoscopic length scales is of significant interest, both from a fundamental-physics standpoint, as well as in the context of technological advances. In this light, the description of collective variables comprising large numbers of atoms, but nevertheless displaying non-classical behavior, is a fundamental problem. Here, we show that an effective-Hamiltonian approach for such variables, as has been applied to describe the quantum behavior of coupled qubit/oscillator systems, can also be very useful in understanding intrinsic behavior of quantum materials. We consider lattice dislocations – naturally occurring mesoscopic line defects in crystals – in the prototypical bosonic quantum crystal, solid 4He. For this purpose, we map fully atomistic quantum simulations onto effective one-dimensional Hamiltonians in which the collective dislocation-position variables are represented as interacting, massive quantum particles. The results provide quantitative understanding of several experimental observations in solid 4He.
Quantum Materials 7, 119 (2022).


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