Controlling quantum many-body dynamics in driven Rydberg atom arrays

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Science  26 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6536, pp. 1355-1359
DOI: 10.1126/science.abg2530

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Dynamic stabilization of an array

Large-scale systems comprising one-dimensional chains and two-dimensional arrays of excited atoms held in a programmable optical lattice are a powerful platform with which to simulate emergent phenomena. Bluvstein et al. built an array of up to 200 Rydberg atoms and subjected the system to periodic excitation. Under such driven excitation, they found that the array of atoms stabilized, freezing periodically into what looked like time crystals. Understanding and controlling the dynamic interactions in quantum many-body systems lies at the heart of contemporary condensed matter physics and the exotic phenomena that can occur.

Science, this issue p. 1355


The control of nonequilibrium quantum dynamics in many-body systems is challenging because interactions typically lead to thermalization and a chaotic spreading throughout Hilbert space. We investigate nonequilibrium dynamics after rapid quenches in a many-body system composed of 3 to 200 strongly interacting qubits in one and two spatial dimensions. Using a programmable quantum simulator based on Rydberg atom arrays, we show that coherent revivals associated with so-called quantum many-body scars can be stabilized by periodic driving, which generates a robust subharmonic response akin to discrete time-crystalline order. We map Hilbert space dynamics, geometry dependence, phase diagrams, and system-size dependence of this emergent phenomenon, demonstrating new ways to steer complex dynamics in many-body systems and enabling potential applications in quantum information science.

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