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Observing single atoms during relaxation toward equilibrium

Date:
February 22, 2012
Source:
Freie Universitaet Berlin
Summary:
Scientists have succeeded for the first time in simulating the dynamic behavior of strongly correlated individual atoms in solids. They were able to string atoms in so-called optical lattices and observe their dynamic behavior, which is determined by complex interactions with other atoms.
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Scientists from Freie Universität Berlin, the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich) have succeeded for the first time in simulating the dynamic behavior of strongly correlated individual atoms in solids. They were able to string atoms in so-called optical lattices and observe their dynamic behavior, which is determined by complex interactions with other atoms.

According to the involved researchers, the findings hold promise for understanding fundamental processes as well as addressing significant issues that have long been poorly understood. To some extent the experiments can explain how systems that are not in equilibrium can be returned to the steady state or how certain macroscopic properties such as temperature originate. The experiments and the underlying theories were published in the latest edition of Nature Physics.

The new experiment was carried out by Immanuel Bloch's group at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics. It was supported by new analytical considerations and numerical calculations on supercomputers by the groups around Uli Schollwöck at LMU Munich and Jens Eisert at Freie Universität Berlin. The findings are the first data on single atoms in strongly correlated samples in optical lattices that were brought into a controlled non-equilibrium.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Freie Universitaet Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Trotzky, Y-A. Chen, A. Flesch, I. P. McCulloch, U. Schollwöck, J. Eisert, I. Bloch. Probing the relaxation towards equilibrium in an isolated strongly correlated one-dimensional Bose gas. Nature Physics, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nphys2232

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Freie Universitaet Berlin. "Observing single atoms during relaxation toward equilibrium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222093845.htm>.
Freie Universitaet Berlin. (2012, February 22). Observing single atoms during relaxation toward equilibrium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222093845.htm
Freie Universitaet Berlin. "Observing single atoms during relaxation toward equilibrium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222093845.htm (accessed May 22, 2015).

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