Dynamical formation of a strongly correlated dark condensate of dipolar excitons
Strongly interacting bosons display a rich variety of quantum phases, the study of which has so far been focused in the dilute regime, at a fixed number of particles. Here we demonstrate the formation of a dense Bose–Einstein condensate in a long-lived dark spin state of 2D dipolar excitons. A dark condensate of weakly interacting excitons is very fragile, being unstable against a coherent coupling of dark and bright spin states. Remarkably, we find that strong dipole–dipole interactions stabilize the dark condensate. As a result, the dark phase persists up to densities high enough for a dark quantum liquid to form. The striking experimental observation of a step-like dependence of the exciton density on the pump power is reproduced quantitatively by a model describing the nonequilibrium dynamics of driven coupled dark and bright condensates. This unique behavior marks a dynamical condensation to dark states with lifetimes as long as a millisecond, followed by a brightening transition at high densities.