Frontiers in Many-Body Physics of Atoms

Monday, January 26, 2015 - 4:15pm
Room #1 LeConte Hall
Ehud Altman
Weizmann Institute of Science
Public Lecture: 

I will review recent developments in AMO systems, with emphasis on how they challenge ingrained concepts in many-body physics. First I will consider quantum optical setups, where the non-equilibrium conditions imposed by a laser drive lead to new types of emergent universal behavior. As a concrete example I will show that exciton-polaritons in semiconductor cavities, though much publicized as Bose condensates, actually form a different and more intriguing liquid. Next I will consider ensembles of ultra-cold atoms, which represent nearly perfect realizations of closed quantum systems. Can quantum correlations imprinted in the state of the system survive the many-body time evolution? I will present new insights on the dynamical phase transition from an ergodic phase in which quantum correlations are lost to a many-body localized state in which they persist indefinitely. The nature of this transition lies at the heart of a basic unsolved question concerning the crossover from quantum to classical behavior in macroscopic systems. Before closing I will present progress in confronting the emerging theory of many-body localization with experimental tests.