Emergence of criticality through a cascade of delocalization transitions in quasiperiodic chains

V. Goblot, A. Štrkalj, N. Pernet, J. L. Lado, C. Dorow, A. Lemaître, L. Le Gratiet, A. Harouri, I. Sagnes, S. Ravets, A. Amo, Jacqueline Bloch*, O. Zilberberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The localization properties of waves in the quasiperiodic chains described by the Aubry-Andre model and Fibonacci model are investigated. Passing from one model to the other, the system develops a cascade of delocalization transitions.

Conduction through materials crucially depends on how ordered the materials are. Periodically ordered systems exhibit extended Bloch waves that generate metallic bands, whereas disorder is known to limit conduction and localize the motion of particles in a medium(1,2). In this context, quasiperiodic systems, which are neither periodic nor disordered, demonstrate exotic conduction properties, self-similar wavefunctions and critical phenomena(3). Here, we explore the localization properties of waves in a novel family of quasiperiodic chains obtained when continuously interpolating between two paradigmatic limits(4): the Aubry-Andre model(5,6), famous for its metal-to-insulator transition, and the Fibonacci chain(7,8), known for its critical nature. We discover that the Aubry-Andre model evolves into criticality through a cascade of band-selective localization/delocalization transitions that iteratively shape the self-similar critical wavefunctions of the Fibonacci chain. Using experiments on cavity-polariton devices, we observe the first transition and reveal the microscopic origin of the cascade. Our findings offer (1) a unique new insight into understanding the criticality of quasiperiodic chains, (2) a controllable knob by which to engineer band-selective pass filters and (3) a versatile experimental platform with which to further study the interplay of many-body interactions and dissipation in a wide range of quasiperiodic models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-836
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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