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Bad metallic transport in a cold atom Fermi-Hubbard system

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Science  06 Dec 2018:
eaat4134
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat4134

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Abstract

Strong interactions in many-body quantum systems complicate the interpretation of charge transport in such materials. To shed light on this problem, we study transport in a clean quantum system: ultracold 6Li in a two-dimensional (2D) optical lattice, a testing ground for strong interaction physics in the Fermi-Hubbard model. We determine the diffusion constant by measuring the relaxation of an imposed density modulation and modeling its decay hydrodynamically. The diffusion constant is converted to a resistivity using the Nernst-Einstein relation. That resistivity exhibits a linear temperature dependence and shows no evidence of saturation, two characteristic signatures of a bad metal. The techniques we develop here may be applied to measurements of other transport quantities, including the optical conductivity and thermopower.

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