Physics

Watching magnetic atoms thermalize

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Science  18 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6390, pp. 749-750
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6390.749-e

A multiparticle system displaced from its equilibrium state usually goes back to equilibrium in short order. Some systems, such as one-dimensional (1D) quantum gases, thermalize very slowly, first reaching an intermediate prethermalized state. To study how the prethermalized state evolves toward equilibrium, Tang et al. used ultracold dysprosium atoms arranged along hundreds of parallel 1D tubes. The atoms, which have high magnetic moments, interacted with other atoms in the same tube and with those in other tubes. The researchers found that both processes affected the dynamics of the system, which were nearly exponential after an initial prethermalization phase.

Phys. Rev. X 8, 021030 (2018).

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