Many-body dynamics of holes in a driven, dissipative spin chain of Rydberg superatoms

Fabian Letscher, David Petrosyan, Michael Fleischhauer
2017 New Journal of Physics  
Strong dipole-dipole interactions between atoms in high-lying Rydberg states can suppress multiple Rydberg excitations within a micron-sized trapping volume and yield sizable Rydberg level shifts at larger distances. Ensembles of atoms in optical microtraps then form Rydberg superatoms with collectively enhanced transition rates to the singly excited state. These superatoms can represent mesoscopic, strongly-interacting spins. We study a regular array of such effective spins driven by a laser
more » ... driven by a laser field tuned to compensate the interaction-induced level shifts between neighboring superatoms. During the initial transient, a few excited superatoms seed a cascade of resonantly facilitated excitation of large clusters of superatoms. Due to spontaneous decay, the system then relaxes to the steady state having nearly universal Rydberg excitation density $\rho_{\mathrm{R}} = 2/3$. This state is characterized by highly-nontrivial equilibrium dynamics of quasi-particles -- excitation holes in the lattice of Rydberg excited superatoms. We derive an effective many-body model that accounts for hole mobility as well as continuous creation and annihilation of holes upon collisions with each other. We find that holes exhibit a nearly incompressible liquid phase with highly sub-Poissonian number statistics and finite-range density-density correlations.
doi:10.1088/1367-2630/aa91c6 fatcat:7ni5fuavanhplmkqqhgbaxymje