The phases of deuterium at extreme densities

Paulo F. Bedaque, Michael I. Buchoff, Aleksey Cherman

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We consider deuterium compressed to higher than atomic, but lower than nuclear densities. At such densities deuterium is a superconducting quantum liquid. Generically, two superconducting phases compete, a " ferromagnetic" and a "nematic" one. We provide a power counting argument suggesting that the dominant interactions in the deuteron liquid are perturbative (but screened) Coulomb interactions. At very high densities the ground state is determined by very small nuclear interaction effects that probably favor the ferromagnetic phase. At lower densities the symmetry of the theory is effectively enhanced to SU(3), and the quantum liquid enters a novel phase, neither ferromagnetic nor nematic. Our results can serve as a starting point for investigations of the phase dynamics of deuteron liquids, as well as exploration of the stability and dynamics of the rich variety of topological objects that may occur in phases of the deuteron quantum liquid, which range from Alice strings to spin skyrmions to ℤ2 vortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number94
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Global symmetries
  • Spontaneous symmetry breaking


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