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Title:Dynamics of ultracold bosons in a disordered optical lattice
Author(s):Meldgin, Carolyn
Director of Research:DeMarco, Brian L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gadway, Bryce
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ceperley, David; Mason, Nadya
Department / Program:Physics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
optical lattice
Abstract:This thesis presents research on a variety of dynamical phenomena in strongly correlated systems. We use 87Rb atoms trapped in a disordered optical lattice to realize the 3D Bose Hubbard model, with independently, dynamically tunable lattice depth and disorder strength. The equilibrium behavior of the Bose Hubbard and disordered Bose Hubbard models are understood, but there are many outstanding questions about dynamics. One area of interest is in dynamical behavior near quantum phase boundaries, such as the generation of quench-induced excitations in the presence of disorder. Another area concerns heat flow, relaxation, and thermalization. The primary focus of this thesis is driving a gas across a disorder-induced quantum phase transition from the Bose glass to the superfluid phase via quenching the disorder. We measured excitations generated during the quench and related them to crossing the equilibrium phase transition determined by quantum Monte Carlo simulations of the trapped system. The behavior we observe is reminiscent of the quantum Kibble Zurek mechanism, where the relaxation timescale diverges and local fluctuations are "frozen" into the system near the phase boundary. Understanding how disorder impacts the Kibble Zurek paradigm about behavior near a phase boundary provides insight into the dynamics of strongly interacting, disordered systems. The three other works discussed in this thesis concern relaxation and energy transfer in clean optical lattices. Understanding these dynamical properties of lattice gases is key to developing tools such as cooling in a lattice. In the first result, a gas comprised of two spin states was loaded into a spin-dependent optical lattice, such that one spin state experienced the lattice, and the other did not. We found that when the lattice gas was heated, energy transfer to the non-lattice gas did not occur at higher lattice depths due to the mismatch in the dispersion relations. In the second result, lattice atoms were excited to a higher band and found to decay to the ground state via two mechanisms. One decay channel involved generating excitations in the non-lattice atoms, while the other channel involved collisions between lattice atoms, where one atom decayed to the ground state and the other was excited to a higher band. The final result measured relaxation timescales by removing atoms with low quasimomentum and measuring rethermalization. The observed timescales are faster than the tunneling time and interaction time of the lattice. Proof-of-principle cooling was also demonstrated by removing atoms with higher quasimomentum and allowing the remaining atoms rethermalize to a cooler temperature.
Issue Date:2016-04-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Carolyn Meldgin
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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