Quantum interference can limit energy absorption in a continually kicked system through a single-particle ergodicity-breaking mechanism known as dynamical localization1,2. The effect of many-body interactions on dynamically localized states, although important to a fundamental understanding of quantum decoherence, has remained unexplored despite more than two decades of experimental studies3,4,5. Here we report the experimental realization of a kicked quantum rotor ensemble with tunable interactions using a Bose–Einstein condensate in a pulsed optical lattice. We observe a clear breakdown of dynamical localization due to interactions, but the resulting dynamics do not restore classical chaotic behaviour, instead displaying sublinear anomalous diffusion. Moreover, echo-type time-reversal experiments establish the role of interactions in destroying reversibility. These results quantitatively elucidate the dynamical transition to many-body quantum chaos and advance our understanding of quantum anomalous diffusion, with implications on the protection of quantum information in interacting driven systems.
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All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in this study are presented in the Letter and the Supplementary Information.
The codes used for data analysis and numerical simulation are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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We acknowledge helpful conversations with A. Rançon, N. Yao and T. Schuster. Funding: D.M.W. acknowledges support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR FA9550-20-1-0240), the Army Research Office (ARO PECASE W911NF1410154) and the National Science Foundation (NSF CAREER 1555313 and QLCI OMA-2016245). D.M.W., R.S. and E.N.-M. acknowledge support from the UCSB NSF Quantum Foundry through the Q-AMASE-i program (grant no. DMR-1906325). V.G. was supported by US ARO contract no. W911NF1310172, NSF DMR-2037158 and the Simons Foundation.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Cao, A., Sajjad, R., Mas, H. et al. Interaction-driven breakdown of dynamical localization in a kicked quantum gas. Nat. Phys. 18, 1302–1306 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-022-01724-7
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