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Exploring many-body localization in two dimensions

Christian Gross, MPQ, Garching

24.06.2016 at 09:00 

Many-body localization (MBL) is a fascinating phenomenon that implies the absence of thermalization in generic closed quantum systems. Much theoretical effort has been made to understand MBL in one-dimension, but even there fundamental questions, such the identification of diverging length scales around the MBL transition remain open. Here we report on a first experimental study of MBL in a two-dimensional disordered Bose-Hubbard system, where very little is known theoretically. We find strong evidence for an MBL transition in a highly non-trivial  parameter regime. This transition manifests itself experimentally in a sudden onset of non-thermalizing behavior above a certain disorder strength. Our quantum gas microscope enables the direct measurement of a density decay length around the observed transition point, and we find strong evidence for its divergence when  approaching the transition from the localized side.

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