|author(s)||Maximilian Prüfer, Philipp Kunkel, Helmut Strobel, Stefan Lannig, Daniel Linnemann, Christian-Marcel Schmied, Jürgen Berges, Thomas Gasenzer, Markus K. Oberthaler|
|title||Observation of universal dynamics in a spinor Bose gas far from equilibrium|
|source||Nature 563, 217-220 (2018)|
The dynamics of quantum systems far from equilibrium represents one of the most challenging problems in theoretical many-body physics. While the evolution is in general intractable in all its details, relevant observables can become insensitive to microscopic system parameters and initial conditions. This is the basis of the phenomenon of universality. Far from equilibrium, universality is identified through the scaling of the spatio-temporal evolution of the system, captured by universal exponents and functions. Theoretically, this has been studied in examples as different as the reheating process in inflationary universe cosmology, the dynamics of nuclear collision experiments described by quantum chromodynamics, or the post-quench dynamics in dilute quantum gases in non-relativistic quantum field theory. However, an experimental demonstration of such scaling evolution in space and time in a quantum many-body system is lacking so far. Here we observe the emergence of universal dynamics by evaluating spatially resolved spin correlations in a quasi one-dimensional spinor Bose-Einstein condensate. For long evolution times we extract the scaling properties from the spatial correlations of the spin excitations. From this we find the dynamics to be governed by transport of an emergent conserved quantity towards low momentum scales. Our results establish an important class of non-stationary systems whose dynamics is encoded in time-independent scaling exponents and functions signaling the existence of non-thermal fixed points. We confirm that the non-thermal scaling phenomenon involves no fine-tuning, by preparing different initial conditions and observing the same scaling behaviour. Our analog quantum simulation approach provides the basis to reveal the underlying mechanisms and characteristics of non-thermal universality classes. One may use this universality to learn, from experiments with ultra-cold gases, about fundamental aspects of dynamics studied in cosmology and quantum chromodynamics.
|URL||Nature view-only version|