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Propagation of light in cold emitter ensembles with quantum position correlations due to static long-range dipolar interactions

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Article number013078
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>22/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review Research
Issue number1
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We analyze the scattering of light from dipolar emitters whose disordered positions exhibit correlations induced by static, long-range dipole-dipole interactions. The quantum-mechanical position correlations are calculated for zero-temperature bosonic atoms or molecules using variational and diffusion quantum Monte Carlo methods. For stationary atoms in dense ensembles in the limit of low light intensity, the simulations yield solutions for the optical responses to all orders of position correlation functions that involve electronic ground and excited states. We calculate how coherent and incoherent scattering, collective linewidths, line shifts, and eigenmodes, and disorder-induced excitation localization are influenced by the static interactions and the density. We find that dominantly repulsive static interactions in strongly confined oblate and prolate traps introduce short-range ordering among the dipoles, which curtails large fluctuations in the light-mediated resonant dipole-dipole interactions. This typically results in an increase in coherent reflection and optical depth, accompanied by reduced incoherent scattering. The presence of static dipolar interactions permits the highly selective excitation of subradiant eigenmodes in dense clouds. This effect becomes even more pronounced in a prolate trap, where the resonances narrow below the natural linewidth. When the static dipolar interactions affect the optical transition frequencies, the ensemble exhibits inhomogeneous broadening due to the nonuniformly experienced static dipolar interactions that suppress cooperative effects, but we argue that, e.g., for Dy atoms such inhomogeneous broadening is negligible.