Research ArticlePHYSICS

Observation of a transition between dynamical phases in a quantum degenerate Fermi gas

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  02 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaax1568
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1568


A proposed paradigm for out-of-equilibrium quantum systems is that an analog of quantum phase transitions exists between parameter regimes of qualitatively distinct time-dependent behavior. Here, we present evidence of such a transition between dynamical phases in a cold-atom quantum simulator of the collective Heisenberg model. Our simulator encodes spin in the hyperfine states of ultracold fermionic potassium. Atoms are pinned in a network of single-particle modes, whose spatial extent emulates the long-range interactions of traditional quantum magnets. We find that below a critical interaction strength, magnetization of an initially polarized fermionic gas decays quickly, while above the transition point, the magnetization becomes long-lived because of an energy gap that protects against dephasing by the inhomogeneous axial field. Our quantum simulation reveals a nonequilibrium transition predicted to exist but not yet directly observed in quenched s-wave superconductors.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances