Tuning Photon-Mediated Interactions in a Multimode Cavity: From Supersolid to Insulating Droplets Hosting Phononic Excitations
Ultracold atoms trapped in laser-generated optical lattices serve as a versatile platform for quantum simulations. However, as these lattices are infinitely stiff, they do not allow to emulate phonon degrees of freedom. This restriction can be lifted in emerged optical lattices inside multimode cavities. Motivated by recent experimental progress in multimode cavity QED, we propose a scheme to implement and study supersolid and droplet states with phononlike lattice excitations by coupling a Bose gas to many longitudinal modes of a ring cavity. The interplay between contact collisional and tunable-range cavity-mediated interactions leads to a rich phase diagram, which includes elastic supersolid as well as insulating droplet phases exhibiting roton-type mode softening for a continuous range of momenta across the superradiant phase transition. The nontrivial dynamic response of the system to a local density perturbation further proves the existence of phononlike modes.