Spontaneously sliding multipole spin density waves in cold atoms

Labeyrie, G. and Walker, J.G.M. and Robb, G.R.M. and Kaiser, R. and Ackemann, T. (2024) Spontaneously sliding multipole spin density waves in cold atoms. Physical Review Letters, 132 (14). 143402. ISSN 1079-7114 (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.132.143402)

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We report on the observation of spontaneously drifting coupled spin and quadrupolar density waves in the ground state of laser driven Rubidium atoms. These laser-cooled atomic ensembles exhibit spontaneous magnetism via light mediated interactions when submitted to optical feedback by a retroreflecting mirror. Drift direction and chirality of the waves arise from spontaneous symmetry breaking. The observations demonstrate a novel transport process in out-of-equilibrium magnetic systems.