Ultracold polar molecules, in highly anisotropic traps and interacting via a repulsive dipolar potential, may form one-dimensional chains at high densities. According to classical theory, at low temperatures there exists a critical value of the density at which a second-order phase transition from a linear to a zigzag chain occurs. We study the effect of thermal and quantum fluctuations on these self-organized structures using classical and quantum Monte Carlo methods, by means of which we evaluate the pair correlation function and the static structure factor. Depending on the parameters, these functions exhibit properties typical of a crystalline or of a liquid system. We compare the thermal and the quantum results, identifying analogies and differences. Finally, we discuss experimental parameter regimes where the effects of quantum fluctuations on the linear-zigzag transition can be observed. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.
|Journal||Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Nov 2009|