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Scott Lecture III : Beyond Statistical Mechanics - Probing Quantum Matter out of Equilibrium

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A fundamental assumption in statistical physics is that generic closed quantum many-body systems thermalise under their own dynamics. Recently, the emergence of many-body localised (MBL) systems has questioned this concept, challenging our understanding of the connection between statistical physics and quantum mechanics. In my final lecture, I will report on several recent experiments carried out in our group on the observation of Many-Body Localisation in different scenarios, ranging from 1D fermionic quantum gas mixtures in driven and undriven Aubry-André type disorder potentials and 2D systems of interacting bosons in 2D random potentials. It is shown that the memory of the system on its initial non-equilibrium state can serve as a useful indicator for a non-ergodic, MBL phase. Furthermore, I will present new results on the slow relaxation dynamics in the ergodic phase below the MBL transition and experiments that explore the resilience of a 2D MBL phase when coupled to a finite thermal bath. Our experiments represent a demonstration and in-depth characterisation of many-body localisation, often in regimes not accessible with state-of-the-art simulations on classical computers underlining the quantum advantage of atomic quantum simulations.

This talk is part of the Scott Lectures series.

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