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Quantum simulation of many-body physics with neutral atoms, molecules, and ions

TitleQuantum simulation of many-body physics with neutral atoms, molecules, and ions
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsFoss-Feig, M

Real materials  are extremely  complicated, and  any attempt to understand their  bulk prop- erties  must  begin with  the  appropriate choice of an idealized  model,  or Hamiltonian.  There  are many  situations where such models have furnished  a decisive understanding of complex quantum phenomena,  such  as BCS superconductivity and  quantum magnetism.  There  are  also cases,  for instance  the  unconventional superconductivity of doped  cuprates  or heavy-fermion  metals,  where even the simplest conceivable models are intractable to current theoretical techniques.  A promising route  toward  understanding the physics of such models is to simulate  them  directly  with a highly controlled  quantum system.  Ultracold  neutral atoms,  polar molecules, and ions are in many  ways ideally suited  to this task.

In this thesis, we emphasize how the unique features  of particular atomic  and molecular sys- tems can be leveraged to access interesting physics in experimentally feasible temperature regimes. In  chapter   3,  we consider  prospects  for  simulation   of the  Kondo  lattice  model  using  alkaline- earth  atoms.   In particular, we show how groundstate properties—for  instance anomalous mass enhancement—can be probed by looking at far-from equilibrium dynamics, which are a standard diagnostic  tool in ultracold  atom  experiments. Chapter 4 describes a realistic  implementation of a bosonic version of the Kondo lattice  model, and we show how the Kondo interaction qualitatively changes the superfluid to Mott  insulator  phase transition. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 are unified through an attempt to understand the effects of dissipation in many-body  quantum systems.  In chapter  5, our goal is mainly  to understand the detrimental effects of two-body reactive  collisions on dipolar molecules in a 3D optical  lattice.   Chapter 6 takes  a rather different  perspective,  and  shows that this  type  of loss naturally induces  quantum correlations  in the  steady  state  of reactive  fermionic molecules  or alkaline  earth  atoms.    In  chapter  7, we develop  an  exact  analytic  solution  for the non-equilibrium dynamics  of long-ranged  Ising models with Markovian  decoherence.  We apply our solution  to  the  benchmarking of dynamics  in an  existing  trapped-ion quantum simulator, which due to its large size and  long-ranged,  frustrated, interactions is well beyond  the  reach  of a brute force numerical  description.