Monika Aidelsburger

Synthetic Quantum Matter

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Faculty of Physics

Schellingstr. 4

80799 München

+49 89 2180 6143


Research Website


We are an experimental team developing quantum simulators based on ultracold atoms in optical lattices.

Quantum many-body systems exhibit fascinating properties ranging from exotic quasiparticle excitations to dissipationless transport. Understanding their properties and making use of them for future applications is, however, often hindered by the exponential number of ressources required for exact classical simulations. An alternative approach constitutes in building highly-controlled quantum simulators, whose individual constituents behave quantum mechanically and interact according to a set of dynamically-controllable microscopic parameters.

Our goal is to extend the applicability of cold-atom quantum simulators in order to study topological many-body physics, frustrated phases of matter and exotic out-of-equilibrium dynamics. Moreover, we are trying to push the level of local control over the microscopic parameters of the system for future applications in digital quantum computation and quantum simulation of high-energy physics.



Benchmarking a Novel Efficient Numerical Method for Localized 1D Fermi-Hubbard Systems on a Quantum Simulator

B.H. Madhusudhana, S. Scherg, T. Kohlert, I. Bloch, M. Aidelsburger

Prx Quantum 2, 040325 (2021).

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Quantum simulators have made a remarkable progress towards exploring the dynamics of many-body systems, many of which offer a formidable challenge to both theoretical and numerical methods. While state-of-the-art quantum simulators are, in principle, able to simulate quantum dynamics well outside the domain of classical computers, they are noisy and limited in the variability of the initial state of the dynamics and the observables that can be measured. Despite these limitations, here we show that such a quantum simulator can be used to in effect solve for the dynamics of a many-body system. We develop an efficient numerical technique that facilitates classical simulations in regimes not accessible to exact calculations or other established numerical techniques. The method is based on approximations that are well suited to describe localized one-dimensional Fermi-Hubbard systems. Since this new method does not have an error estimate and the approximations do not hold in general, we use a neutral-atom Fermi-Hubbard quantum simulator with




lattice sites to benchmark its performance in terms of accuracy and convergence for evolution times up to


tunneling times. We then use these approximations in order to derive a simple prediction of the behavior of interacting Bloch oscillations for spin-imbalanced Fermi-Hubbard systems, which we show to be in quantitative agreement with experimental results. Finally, we demonstrate that the convergence of our method is the slowest when the entanglement depth developed in the many-body system we consider is neither too small nor too large. This represents a promising regime for near-term applications of quantum simulators.

DOI: 10.1103/PRXQuantum.2.040325

Observing non-ergodicity due to kinetic constraints in tilted Fermi-Hubbard chains

S. Scherg, T. Kohlert, P. Sala, F. Pollmann, H.M. Bharath, I. Bloch, M. Aidelsburger

Nature Communications 12, 4490 (2021).

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The thermalization of isolated quantum many-body systems is deeply related to fundamental questions of quantum information theory. While integrable or many-body localized systems display non-ergodic behavior due to extensively many conserved quantities, recent theoretical studies have identified a rich variety of more exotic phenomena in between these two extreme limits. The tilted one-dimensional Fermi-Hubbard model, which is readily accessible in experiments with ultracold atoms, emerged as an intriguing playground to study non-ergodic behavior in a clean disorder-free system. While non-ergodic behavior was established theoretically in certain limiting cases, there is no complete understanding of the complex thermalization properties of this model. In this work, we experimentally study the relaxation of an initial charge-density wave and find a remarkably long-lived initial-state memory over a wide range of parameters. Our observations are well reproduced by numerical simulations of a clean system. Using analytical calculations we further provide a detailed microscopic understanding of this behavior, which can be attributed to emergent kinetic constraints.

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24726-0

Bosonic Pfaffian State in the Hofstadter-Bose-Hubbard Model

F. A. Palm, M. Buser, J. Léonard, M. Aidelsburger, U. Schollwöck, F. Grusdt

Physical Review B 103, L161101 (2021).

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Topological states of matter, such as fractional quantum Hall states, are an active field of research due to their exotic excitations. In particular, ultracold atoms in optical lattices provide a highly controllable and adaptable platform to study such new types of quantum matter. However, finding a clear route to realize non-Abelian quantum Hall states in these systems remains challenging. Here we use the density-matrix renormalization-group (DMRG) method to study the Hofstadter-Bose-Hubbard model at filling factor ν=1 and find strong indications that at α=1/6 magnetic flux quanta per plaquette the ground state is a lattice analog of the continuum non-Abelian Pfaffian. We study the on-site correlations of the ground state, which indicate its paired nature at ν=1, and find an incompressible state characterized by a charge gap in the bulk. We argue that the emergence of a charge density wave on thin cylinders and the behavior of the two- and three-particle correlation functions at short distances provide evidence for the state being closely related to the continuum Pfaffian. The signatures discussed in this letter are accessible in current cold atom experiments and we show that the Pfaffian-like state is readily realizable in few-body systems using adiabatic preparation schemes.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.103.L161101

Z(2) lattice gauge theories and Kitaev's toric code: A scheme for analog quantum simulation

L. Homeier, C. Schweizer, M. Aidelsburger, A. Fedorov, F. Grusdt


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Kitaev's toric code is an exactly solvable model with Z2-topological order, which has potential applications in quantum computation and error correction. However, a direct experimental realization remains an open challenge. Here, we propose a building block for Z2 lattice gauge theories coupled to dynamical matter and demonstrate how it allows for an implementation of the toric-code ground state and its topological excitations. This is achieved by introducing separate matter excitations on individual plaquettes, whose motion induce the required plaquette terms. The proposed building block is realized in the second-order coupling regime and is well suited for implementations with superconducting qubits. Furthermore, we propose a pathway to prepare topologically non-trivial initial states during which a large gap on the order of the underlying coupling strength is present. This is verified by both analytical arguments and numerical studies. Moreover, we outline experimental signatures of the ground-state wavefunction and introduce a minimal braiding protocol. Detecting a π-phase shift between Ramsey fringes in this protocol reveals the anyonic excitations of the toric-code Hamiltonian in a system with only three triangular plaquettes. Our work paves the way for realizing non-Abelian anyons in analog quantum simulators.

arXiv: 2012.05235

Rotor Jackiw-Rebbi Model: A Cold-Atom Approach to Chiral Symmetry Restoration and Charge Confinement

D. González-Cuadra, A. Dauphin, M. Aidelsburger, M. Lewenstein, A. Bermudez

PRX Quantum 1, 020321 (2020).

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Understanding the nature of confinement, as well as its relation with the spontaneous breaking of chiral symmetry, remains one of the long-standing questions in high-energy physics. The difficulty of this task stems from the limitations of current analytical and numerical techniques to address nonperturbative phenomena in non-Abelian gauge theories. In this work, we show how similar phenomena emerge in simpler models, and how these can be further investigated using state-of-the-art cold-atom quantum simulators. More specifically, we introduce the rotor Jackiw-Rebbi model, a (1+1)-dimensional quantum field theory where interactions between Dirac fermions are mediated by quantum rotors. Starting from a mixture of ultracold atoms in an optical lattice, we show how this quantum field theory emerges in the long-wavelength limit. For a wide and experimentally relevant parameter regime, the Dirac fermions acquire a dynamical mass via the spontaneous breakdown of chiral symmetry. We study the effect of both quantum and thermal fluctuations, and show how they lead to the phenomenon of chiral symmetry restoration. Moreover, we uncover a confinement-deconfinement quantum phase transition, where mesonlike fermions fractionalize into quarklike quasiparticles bound to topological solitons of the rotor field. The proliferation of these solitons at finite chemical potentials again serves to restore the chiral symmetry, yielding a clear analogy with the quark-gluon plasma in quantum chromodynamics, where the restored symmetry coexists with the deconfined fractional charges. Our results indicate how the interplay between these phenomena could be analyzed in more detail in realistic atomic experiments.

DOI: 10.1103/PRXQuantum.1.020321

Realization of an anomalous Floquet topological system with ultracold atoms

K. Wintersperger, C. Braun, F. Nur Ünal, A. Eckardt, M. Di Liberto, N. Goldman, I. Bloch, M. Aidelsburger

Nature Physics (2020).

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Coherent control via periodic modulation, also known as Floquet engineering, has emerged as a powerful experimental method for the realization of novel quantum systems with exotic properties. In particular, it has been employed to study topological phenomena in a variety of different platforms. In driven systems, the topological properties of the quasienergy bands can often be determined by standard topological invariants, such as Chern numbers, which are commonly used in static systems. However, due to the periodic nature of the quasienergy spectrum, this topological description is incomplete and new invariants are required to fully capture the topological properties of these driven settings. Most prominently, there are two-dimensional anomalous Floquet systems that exhibit robust chiral edge modes, despite all Chern numbers being equal to zero. Here we realize such a system with bosonic atoms in a periodically driven honeycomb lattice and infer the complete set of topological invariants from energy gap measurements and local Hall deflections.

DOI: 10.1038/s41567-020-0949-y

Parametric Instabilities of Interacting Bosons in Periodically Driven 1D Optical Lattices

K. Wintersperger, M. Bukov, J. Näger, S. Lellouch, E. Demler, U. Schneider, I. Bloch, N. Goldman, M. Aidelsburger

Physical Review X 10, 011030 (2020).

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Periodically driven quantum systems are currently explored in view of realizing novel many-body phases of matter. This approach is particularly promising in gases of ultracold atoms, where sophisticated shaking protocols can be realized and interparticle interactions are well controlled. The combination of interactions and time-periodic driving, however, often leads to uncontrollable heating and instabilities, potentially preventing practical applications of Floquet engineering in large many-body quantum systems. In this work, we experimentally identify the existence of parametric instabilities in weakly interacting Bose-Einstein condensates in strongly driven optical lattices through momentum-resolved measurements, in line with theoretical predictions. Parametric instabilities can trigger the destruction of weakly interacting Bose-Einstein condensates through the rapid growth of collective excitations, in particular in systems with weak harmonic confinement transverse to the lattice axis. Understanding the onset of parametric instabilities in driven quantum matter is crucial for determining optimal conditions for the engineering of modulation-induced many-body systems.


Coupling ultracold matter to dynamical gauge fields in optical lattices: From flux attachment to Z2 lattice gauge theories

L. Barbiero, C. Schweizer, M. Aidelsburger, E. Demler, N. Goldman and F. Grusdt.

Science Advances 5 (10), (2019).

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From the standard model of particle physics to strongly correlated electrons, various physical settings are formulated in terms of matter coupled to gauge fields. Quantum simulations based on ultracold atoms in optical lattices provide a promising avenue to study these complex systems and unravel the underlying many-body physics. Here, we demonstrate how quantized dynamical gauge fields can be created in mixtures of ultracold atoms in optical lattices, using a combination of coherent lattice modulation with strong interactions. Specifically, we propose implementation of Z2 lattice gauge theories coupled to matter, reminiscent of theories previously introduced in high-temperature superconductivity. We discuss a range of settings from zero-dimensional toy models to ladders featuring transitions in the gauge sector to extended two-dimensional systems. Mastering lattice gauge theories in optical lattices constitutes a new route toward the realization of strongly correlated systems, with properties dictated by an interplay of dynamical matter and gauge fields.

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7444

Floquet approach to Z2 lattice gauge theories with ultracold atoms in optical lattices

C. Schweizer, F. Grusdt, M. Berngruber, L. Barbiero, E. Demler, N. Goldman, I. Bloch, M. Aidelsburger.

Nature Physics 15, 1168-1173 (2019).

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Quantum simulation has the potential to investigate gauge theories in strongly-interacting regimes, which are up to now inaccessible through conventional numerical techniques. Here, we take a first step in this direction by implementing a Floquet-based method for studying Z2 lattice gauge theories using two-component ultracold atoms in a double-well potential. For resonant periodic driving at the on-site interaction strength and an appropriate choice of the modulation parameters, the effective Floquet Hamiltonian exhibits Z2 symmetry. We study the dynamics of the system for different initial states and critically contrast the observed evolution with a theoretical analysis of the full time-dependent Hamiltonian of the periodically-driven lattice model. We reveal challenges that arise due to symmetry-breaking terms and outline potential pathways to overcome these limitations. Our results provide important insights for future studies of lattice gauge theories based on Floquet techniques.

DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0649-7

Topological proximity effects in a Haldane graphene bilayer system

P. Cheng, P. W. Klein, K. Plekhanov, K. Sengstock, M. Aidelsburger, C. Weitenberg, and K. Le Hur.

Physical Review B 100, 081107(R) (2019).

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We reveal a proximity effect between a topological band (Chern) insulator described by a Haldane model and spin-polarized Dirac particles of a graphene layer. Coupling weakly the two systems through a tunneling term in the bulk, the topological Chern insulator induces a gap and an opposite Chern number on the Dirac particles at half filling, resulting in a sign flip of the Berry curvature at one Dirac point. We study different aspects of the bulk-edge correspondence and present protocols to observe the evolution of the Berry curvature as well as two counterpropagating (protected) edge modes with different velocities. In the strong-coupling limit, the energy spectrum shows flat bands. Therefore we build a perturbation theory and address further the bulk-edge correspondence. We also show the occurrence of a topological insulating phase with Chern number one when only the lowest band is filled. We generalize the effect to Haldane bilayer systems with asymmetric Semenoff masses. Moreover, we propose an alternative definition of the topological invariant on the Bloch sphere.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.100.081107

Observation of many-body localization in an one-dimensional system with a single-particle mobility edge

T. Kohlert, S. Scherg, X. Li, H.P. Lüschen, S. Das Sarma, I. Bloch, M. Aidelsburger.

Physical Review Letters 122, 170403 (2019).

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We experimentally study many-body localization (MBL) with ultracold atoms in a weak one-dimensional quasiperiodic potential, which in the noninteracting limit exhibits an intermediate phase that is characterized by a mobility edge. We measure the time evolution of an initial charge density wave after a quench and analyze the corresponding relaxation exponents. We find clear signatures of MBL when the corresponding noninteracting model is deep in the localized phase. We also critically compare and contrast our results with those from a tight-binding Aubry-André model, which does not exhibit a single-particle intermediate phase, in order to identify signatures of a potential many-body intermediate phase.


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