The probabilistic character of the measurement process is one of the most puzzling and fascinating aspects of quantum mechanics. In many-body systems quantum-mechanical noise reveals non-local correlations of the underlying many-body states. Here, we provide a complete experimental analysis of the shot-to-shot variations of interference-fringe contrast for pairs of independently created one-dimensional Bose condensates. Analysing different system sizes, we observe the crossover from thermal to quantum noise, reflected in a characteristic change in the distribution functions from poissonian to Gumbel type, in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions on the basis of the Luttinger-liquid formalism. We present the first experimental observation of quasi-long-range order in one-dimensional atomic condensates, which is a hallmark of quantum fluctuations in one-dimensional systems. Furthermore, our experiments constitute the first analysis of the full distribution of quantum noise in an interacting many-body system.
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We acknowledge financial support from the European Union through the contracts MRTN-CT-2003-505032 (Atom chips), Integrated Project FET/QIPC ‘SCALA’, FWF, NSF, Harvard-MIT CUA, AFOSR, Swiss NSF and MURI. We thank S. Groth for fabricating the atom chip used in the experiments and D. A. Smith for critical reading of the manuscript.
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Hofferberth, S., Lesanovsky, I., Schumm, T. et al. Probing quantum and thermal noise in an interacting many-body system. Nature Phys 4, 489–495 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys941
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