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Title: Non-equilibrium strongly-correlated dynamics
Author: Johnson, Tomi Harry
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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We study non-equilibrium and strongly-correlated dynamics in two contexts. We begin by analysing quantum many-body systems out of equilibrium through the lens of cold atomic impurities in Bose gases. Such highly-imbalanced mixtures provide a controlled arena for the study of interactions, dissipation, decoherence and transport in a many-body quantum environment. Specifically we investigate the oscillatory dynamics of a trapped and initially highly-localised impurity interacting with a weakly-interacting trapped quasi low-dimensional Bose gas. This relates to and goes beyond a recent experiment by the Inguscio group in Florence. We witness a delicate interplay between the self-trapping of the impurity and the inhomogeneity of the Bose gas, and describe the dissipation of the energy of the impurity through phononic excitations of the Bose gas. We then study the transport of a driven, periodically-trapped impurity through a quasi one-dimensional Bose gas. We show that placing the weakly-interacting Bose gas in a separate periodic potential leads to a phononic excitation spectrum that closely mimics those in solid state systems. As a result we show that the impurity-Bose gas system exhibits phonon-induced resonances in the impurity current that were predicted to occur in solids decades ago but never clearly observed. Following this, allowing the bosons to interact strongly, we predict the effect of different strongly-correlated phases of the Bose gas on the motion of the impurity. We show that, by observing the impurity, properties of the excitation spectrum of the Bose gas, e.g., gap and bandwidth, may be inferred along with the filling of the bosonic lattice. In other words the impurity acts as a probe of its environment. To describe the dynamics of such a strongly-correlated system we use the powerful and near-exact time-evolving block decimation (TEBD) method, which we describe in detail. The second part of this thesis then analyses, for the first time, the performance of this method when applied to simulate non-equilibrium classical stochastic processes. We study its efficacy for a well-understood model of transport, the totally-asymmetric exclusion process, and find it to be accurate. Next, motivated by the inefficiency of sampling-based numerical methods for high variance observables we adapt and apply TEBD to simulate a path-dependent observable whose variance increases exponentially with system size. Specifically we calculate the expected value of the exponential of the work done by a varying magnetic field on a one-dimensional Ising model undergoing Glauber dynamics. We confirm using Jarzynski's equality that the TEBD method remains accurate and efficient. Therefore TEBD and related methods complement and challenge the usual Monte Carlo-based simulators of non-equilibrium stochastic processes.
Supervisor: Jaksch, Dieter H.; Vedral, Vlatko Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atomic and laser physics ; Condensed Matter Physics ; Theoretical physics ; Condensed matter theory ; Stochastic processes ; Applications and algorithms ; Physics and CS ; Numerical analysis ; Probability theory and stochastic processes ; impurities ; Bose gas ; strongly correlated ; strongly-correlated ; non equilibrium ; non-equilibrium ; Time-Evolving Block Decimation ; optical lattice ; cold atom ; mixtures ; Esaki-Tsu ; physics ; theory ; stochastic process ; variance ; Monte Carlo ; tensor network