Article

Probing many-body dynamics on a 51-atom quantum simulator

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Abstract

Controllable, coherent many-body systems can provide insights into the fundamental properties of quantum matter, enable the realization of new quantum phases and could ultimately lead to computational systems that outperform existing computers based on classical approaches. Here we demonstrate a method for creating controlled many-body quantum matter that combines deterministically prepared, reconfigurable arrays of individually trapped cold atoms with strong, coherent interactions enabled by excitation to Rydberg states. We realize a programmable Ising-type quantum spin model with tunable interactions and system sizes of up to 51 qubits. Within this model, we observe phase transitions into spatially ordered states that break various discrete symmetries, verify the high-fidelity preparation of these states and investigate the dynamics across the phase transition in large arrays of atoms. In particular, we observe robust many-body dynamics corresponding to persistent oscillations of the order after a rapid quantum quench that results from a sudden transition across the phase boundary. Our method provides a way of exploring many-body phenomena on a programmable quantum simulator and could enable realizations of new quantum algorithms.

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Acknowledgements

We thank E. Demler, A. Chandran, S. Sachdev, A. Vishwanath, P. Zoller, P. Silvi, T. Pohl, M. Knap, M. Fleischhauer, S. Hofferberth and A. Harrow for discussions. This work was supported by NSF, CUA, ARO, and a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship. H.B. acknowledges support by a Rubicon Grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). A.O. acknowledges support by a research fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG). S.S. acknowledges funding from the European Union under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship Programme H2020-MSCA-IF-2014 (project number 658253). H.P. acknowledges support by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics (ITAMP) at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. H.L. acknowledges support by the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Hannes Bernien
    • , Sylvain Schwartz
    • , Alexander Keesling
    • , Harry Levine
    • , Ahmed Omran
    • , Hannes Pichler
    • , Soonwon Choi
    • , Alexander S. Zibrov
    • , Markus Greiner
    •  & Mikhail D. Lukin
  2. Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

    • Sylvain Schwartz
    •  & Vladan Vuletić
  3. Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Hannes Pichler
  4. Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • Manuel Endres

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Contributions

The experiments and data analysis were carried out by H.B., S.S., A.K., H.L., A.O., A.S.Z. and M.E. Theoretical analysis was performed by H.P. and S.C. All work was supervised by M.G., V.V. and M.D.L. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Markus Greiner or Vladan Vuletić or Mikhail D. Lukin.

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