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Quantum particles unexpectedly held up

Transport phenomena in ultracold quantum gases

Munich, 03/13/2012

The thermal and electrical conductivities of a material are a reflection of the mobility of quantum particles within it. These and other transport phenomena often have a crucial influence on the suitability of a given material for particular applications, but they are difficult to predict from first principles. Ensembles of ultracold atoms trapped in an optical lattice formed by interacting laser beams provide useful model systems for the study of particle transport. This is because virtually all parameters relevant to their confinement, release and expansion, including the strength of interatomic interactions, can be independently controlled using laser light and magnetic fields. In addition, such quantum simulators are free of the complications due to lattice defects or impurities that arise in measurements on bulk materials. A research team led by Professor Immanuel Bloch of LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, in collaboration with Professor Achim Rosch’s group at Cologne University, has now studied the dynamics of an ultracold gas of potassium atoms in an optical lattice. They found that the strength of interatomic interactions has a surprisingly large effect on the behavior of the gas. Studies of this sort provide insights into phenomena such as electrical conductivity, superconductivity and magnetism, and have important long-term implications for the targeted development of new materials with specially tailored properties. (MPI) (Nature Physics online)

Press Release of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics

Ulrich Schneider, Lucia Hackermüller, Jens Philipp Ronzheimer, SebastianWill, Simon Braun, Thorsten Best, Immanuel Bloch, Eugene Demler, Stephan Mandt, David Rasch and Achim Rosch
Fermionic transport and out-of-equilibrium dynamics in a homogeneous Hubbard model with ultracold atoms
Nature Physics 8,213-218 (2012), DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS2205

Prof. Dr. Immanuel Bloch
Chair of Quantum Optics, LMU Munich
Phone: +49 89 32905 138

Dr. Ulrich Schneider
Faculty of Physics, LMU Munich
Phone: +49 89 / 2180 -6129


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