Richard Schmidt

Quantum Matter Theory

Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics

Hans-Kopfermann-Str. 1

85748 Garching

Tel: + 49 89 329 05242[at]

Group Webpage

I am fascinated by the universality of many of the physical phenomena. My group investigates how this underlying simplicity of physics allows new discoveries to be made in the controlled environment of ultracold quantum gases, and then to implement and utilize these phenomena in everyday materials such as semiconductors and other solids.


Research focus: quantum matter theory, 2D materials, ultracold quantum gases, functional methods

The research focus of the group “Theory of Quantum Matter” lies at the intersection of theoretical solid state and atomic physics. We are particularly interested in systems that feature a strong interplay of few- and many-body physics with the aim to understand its significance for the dynamics, spectroscopic and transport properties of quantum matter realized in ultracold atomic gases and semiconducting materials.

From cold atoms to semiconductors

In order to make progress in understanding complex quantum matter, it is important to identify systems which allow not only to study physics from different perspectives, but which also highlight universal aspects of the underlying dynamics. Discovering such universal connections can provide a basis to establish new phenomena that universally appear in artificial cold atomic quantum system and actual solid state materials with the potential of quantum technological applications

In this spirit cold atomic quantum systems can serve as a platform for an applied quantum simulation of solid state materials and the goal to discover universal connections between both fields drives our research agenda. Remarkably, two-dimensional van-der Waals materials — with graphene being a famous example from this rapidly growing field of research — feature such a unique similarity to ultracold atomic quantum gases. Specifically, excitons interacting with electrons in two-dimensional semiconductor heterostructures realize Bose-Fermi mixtures that are closely related to those studied in ultracold atoms. Indeed, one example for the synergy of the two fields of van-der-Waals materials and ultracold atoms is the measurement of repulsive polarons in two-dimensional semiconductors [1] following our theoretical prediction [2,3] and their first observation in ultracold atoms [4,5], for a review on recent progress see [6] and [7]. Building on our expertise at the intersection of solid state and atomic physics, our research group focusses on studying and exploiting such universal connections between solid state and cold atomic physics to theoretically discover novel states of quantum matter and finding ways to actually realize those in experiments.

Functional methods

In our theoretical pursuit of this goal we rely on a wide set of theoretical few- and many-body methods (including quantum field theory, diagrammatics, functional renormalization group, time-dependent variational wave functions, functional determinants, and exact approaches to few-body problems). We aim to both improve these methods as well as to develop new theoretical tools that allow to deepen our understanding of universal aspects of few- to many-body dynamics in quantum matter.

Our group has many active collaborations with theorists and experimentalists in the United States, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and throughout Germany, and we also work in close connection with other groups within the research community in the Greater Munich area.


[1] M. Sidler et al., Nat. Phys. 13, 255 (2017).
[2] R. Schmidt, and T. Enss, Phys. Rev. A 83, 063620 (2011).
[3] R. Schmidt, T. Enss, V. Pietila, and E. Demler, Phys. Rev. A 85, 021602(R) (2012).
[4] C. Kohstall et al., Nature 485, 615 (2012).
[5] M. Koschorreck et al., Nature 485, 619 (2012).
[6] R. Schmidt, M. Knap, D. A. Ivanov, J.-S. You, M. Cetina and E. Demler, Rep. Prog. Phys. 81, 024401 (2018).
[7] M. Cetina, M. Jag, R. S. Lous, I. Fritsche, J. T. M. Walraven, R. Grimm, J. Levinsen, M. M. Parish, R. Schmidt, M. Knap, E. Demler, Science 354, 96 (2016).


Lossy quantum defect theory of ultracold molecular collisions

A. Christianen, G.C. Groenenboom, T. Karman

Physical Review A 104, 043327 (2021).

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We consider losses in collisions of ultracold molecules described by a simple statistical short-range model that explicitly accounts for the limited lifetime of classically chaotic collision complexes. This confirms that thermally sampling many isolated resonances leads to a loss cross section equal to the elastic cross section derived by Mayle et al. [Phys. Rev. A 85, 062712 (2012)] and this makes precise the conditions under which this is the case. Surprisingly, we find that the loss is nonuniversal. We also consider the case that loss broadens the short-range resonances to the point that they become overlapping. The overlapping resonances can be treated statistically even if the resonances are sparse compared to kBT, which may be the case for many molecules. The overlap results in Ericson fluctuations which yield a nonuniversal short-range boundary condition that is independent of energy over a range much wider than is sampled thermally. Deviations of experimental loss rates from the present theory beyond statistical fluctuations and the dependence on a background phase shift are interpreted as nonchaotic dynamics of short-range collision complexes.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.104.043327

Dispersion forces between weakly disordered van der Waals crystals

J. von Milczewski, J.R. Tolsma

Physical Review B 104, 125111 (2021).

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We describe a many-body theory for interlayer dispersion forces between weakly disordered atomically thin crystals and numerically investigate the role of disorder for different layer-separation distances and for different densities of induced electrons and holes. In contrast to the common wisdom that disorder tends to enhance the importance of Coulomb interactions in Fermi liquids, we find that short-range disorder tends to weaken interlayer dispersion forces. This is in line with previous findings that suggest that transitioning from metallic to insulating propagation weakens interlayer dispersion forces. We demonstrate that disorder alters the scaling laws of dispersion forces and we comment on the role of the maximally crossed vertex-correction diagrams responsible for logarithmic divergences in the resistivity of two-dimensional metals.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.104.125111

Ionic polaron in a Bose-Einstein condensate

G.E. Astrakharchik, L.A. Peña Ardila, R. Schmidt, K. Jachymski, A. Negretti

Communications Physics 4, 94 (2021).

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The presence of strong interactions in a many-body quantum system can lead to a variety of exotic effects. Here we show that even in a comparatively simple setup consisting of a charged impurity in a weakly interacting bosonic medium the competition of length scales gives rise to a highly correlated mesoscopic state. Using quantum Monte Carlo simulations, we unravel its vastly different polaronic properties compared to neutral quantum impurities. Moreover, we identify a transition between the regime amenable to conventional perturbative treatment in the limit of weak atom-ion interactions and a many-body bound state with vanishing quasi-particle residue composed of hundreds of atoms. In order to analyze the structure of the corresponding states, we examine the atom-ion and atom-atom correlation functions which both show nontrivial properties. Our findings are directly relevant to experiments using hybrid atom-ion setups that have recently attained the ultracold regime.

DOI: 10.1038/s42005-021-00597-1

Optical Signatures of Periodic Charge Distribution in a Mott-like Correlated Insulator State

Y. Shimazaki, C. Kuhlenkamp, I. Schwartz, T. Smoleński, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, M. Kroner, R. Schmidt, M. Knap, A. Imamoğlu

Physical Review X 11 (2), 21027 (2021).

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The elementary optical excitations in two-dimensional semiconductors hosting itinerant electrons are attractive and repulsive polarons—excitons that are dynamically screened by electrons. Exciton polarons have hitherto been studied in translationally invariant degenerate Fermi systems. Here, we show that periodic distribution of electrons breaks the excitonic translational invariance and leads to a direct optical signature in the exciton-polaron spectrum. Specifically, we demonstrate that new optical resonances appear due to spatially modulated interactions between excitons and electrons in an incompressible Mott-like correlated state. Our observations demonstrate that resonant optical spectroscopy provides an invaluable tool for studying strongly correlated states, such as Wigner crystals and density waves, where exciton-electron interactions are modified by the emergence of charge order.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.11.021027

Tunable Feshbach resonances and their spectral signatures in bilayer semiconductors

C. Kuhlenkamp, M. Knap, M. Wagner, R. Schmidt, A. Imamoglu

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Feshbach resonances are an invaluable tool in atomic physics, enabling precise control of interactions and the preparation of complex quantum phases of matter. Here, we theoretically analyze a solid-state analogue of a Feshbach resonance in two dimensional semiconductor heterostructures. In the presence of inter-layer electron tunneling, the scattering of excitons and electrons occupying different layers can be resonantly enhanced by tuning an applied electric field. The emergence of an inter-layer Feshbach molecule modifies the optical excitation spectrum, and can be understood in terms of Fermi polaron formation. We discuss potential implications for the realization of correlated Bose-Fermi mixtures in bilayer semiconductors.


Exciton–polarons in two-dimensional semiconductors and the Tavis–Cummings model

A. Imamoglu, O. Cotlet, R. Schmidt

Comptes Rendus. Physique 22, 1 (2021).

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The elementary optical excitations of a two-dimensional electron or hole system have been identified as exciton-Fermi-polarons. Nevertheless, the connection between the bound state of an exciton and an electron, termed trion, and exciton–polarons is subject of ongoing debate. Here, we use an analogy to the Tavis–Cummings model of quantum optics to show that an exciton–polaron can be understood as a hybrid quasiparticle—a coherent superposition of a bare exciton in an unperturbed Fermi sea and a bright collective excitation of many trions. The analogy is valid to the extent that the Chevy Ansatz provides a good description of dynamical screening of excitons and provided the Fermi energy is much smaller than the trion binding energy. We anticipate our results to bring new insight that could help to explain the striking differences between absorption and emission spectra of two-dimensional semiconductors.

DOI: 10.5802/crphys.47

Quantum-Zeno Fermi polaron in the strong dissipation limit

T. Wasak, R. Schmidt, F. Piazza

Physical Review Research 3, 13086 (2021).

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The interplay between measurement and quantum correlations in many-body systems can lead to novel types of collective phenomena which are not accessible in isolated systems. In this work, we merge the Zeno paradigm of quantum measurement theory with the concept of polarons in condensed-matter physics. The resulting quantum-Zeno Fermi polaron is a quasiparticle which emerges for lossy impurities interacting with a quantum-degenerate bath of fermions. For loss rates of the order of the impurity-fermion binding energy, the quasiparticle is short lived. However, we show that in the strongly dissipative regime of large loss rates a long-lived polaron branch reemerges. This quantum-Zeno Fermi polaron originates from the nontrivial interplay between the Fermi surface and the surface of the momentum region forbidden by the quantum-Zeno projection. The situation we consider here is realized naturally for polaritonic impurities in charge-tunable semiconductors and can be also implemented using dressed atomic states in ultracold gases.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevResearch.3.013086

Mobile impurity in a Bose-Einstein condensate and the orthogonality catastrophe

N.E. Guenther, R. Schmidt, G.M. Bruun, V. Gurarie, P. Massignan

Physical Review A 103 (1), 013317 (2021).

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We analyze the properties of an impurity in a dilute Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). The quasiparticle residue of a static impurity in an ideal BEC is known to vanish exponentially with increasing particle number, leading to a bosonic orthogonality catastrophe. Here we introduce a conceptually simple variational ansatz for mobile impurities which accurately describes their macroscopic dressing in the regime close to orthogonality, including back-action onto the BEC as well as boson-boson repulsion beyond the Bogoliubov approximation. This ansatz predicts that the orthogonality catastrophe also occurs in the mobile case, whenever the BEC becomes ideal. Finally, we show that our ansatz agrees well with recent experimental results.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.103.013317

Observation of a Smooth Polaron-Molecule Transition in a Degenerate Fermi Gas

G. Ness, C. Shkedrov, Y. Florshaim, O.K. Diessel, J. von Milczewski, R. Schmidt, Y. Sagi

Physical Review X 10, 041019 (2020).

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Understanding the behavior of an impurity strongly interacting with a Fermi sea is a long-standing challenge in many-body physics. When the interactions are short ranged, two vastly different ground states exist: a polaron quasiparticle and a molecule dressed by the majority atoms. In the single-impurity limit, it is predicted that at a critical interaction strength, a first-order transition occurs between these two states. Experiments, however, are always conducted in the finite temperature and impurity density regime. The fate of the polaron-to-molecule transition under these conditions, where the statistics of quantum impurities and thermal effects become relevant, is still unknown. Here, we address this question experimentally and theoretically. Our experiments are performed with a spin-imbalanced ultracold Fermi gas with tunable interactions. Utilizing a novel Raman spectroscopy combined with a high-sensitivity fluorescence detection technique, we isolate the quasiparticle contribution and extract the polaron energy, spectral weight, and the contact parameter. As the interaction strength is increased, we observe a continuous variation of all observables, in particular a smooth reduction of the quasiparticle weight as it goes to zero beyond the transition point. Our observation is in good agreement with a theoretical model where polaron and molecule quasiparticle states are thermally occupied according to their quantum statistics. At the experimental conditions, polaron states are hence populated even at interactions where the molecule is the ground state and vice versa. The emerging physical picture is thus that of a smooth transition between polarons and molecules and a coexistence of both in the region around the expected transition. Our findings establish Raman spectroscopy as a powerful experimental tool for probing the physics of mobile quantum impurities and shed new light on the competition between emerging fermionic and bosonic quasiparticles in non-Fermi-liquid phases.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.10.041019

Vibrational Dressing in Kinetically Constrained Rydberg Spin Systems

P.P Mazza, R. Schmidt, I. Lesanovsky

Physical Review Letters 125 (3), 033602 (2020).

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Quantum spin systems with kinetic constraints have become paradigmatic for exploring collective dynamical behavior in many-body systems. Here we discuss a facilitated spin system which is inspired by recent progress in the realization of Rydberg quantum simulators. This platform allows to control and investigate the interplay between facilitation dynamics and the coupling of spin degrees of freedom to lattice vibrations. Developing a minimal model, we show that this leads to the formation of polaronic quasiparticle excitations which are formed by many-body spin states dressed by phonons. We investigate in detail the properties of these quasiparticles, such as their dispersion relation, effective mass, and the quasiparticle weight. Rydberg lattice quantum simulators are particularly suited for studying this phonon-dressed kinetically constrained dynamics as their exaggerated length scales permit the site-resolved monitoring of spin and phonon degrees of freedom.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.033602

Dynamical Variational Approach to Bose Polarons at Finite Temperatures

D. Dzsotjan, R. Schmidt, M. Fleischhauer

Physical Review Letters 124 (22), 223401 (2020).

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We discuss the interaction of a mobile quantum impurity with a Bose-Einstein condensate of atoms at finite temperature. To describe the resulting Bose polaron formation we develop a dynamical variational approach applicable to an initial thermal gas of Bogoliubov phonons. We study the polaron formation after switching on the interaction, e.g., by a radio-frequency (rf) pulse from a noninteracting to an interacting state. To treat also the strongly interacting regime, interaction terms beyond the Frohlich model are taken into account. We calculate the real-time impurity Green's function and discuss its temperature dependence. Furthermore we determine the rf absorption spectrum and find good agreement with recent experimental observations. We predict temperature-induced shifts and a substantial broadening of spectral lines. The analysis of the real-time Green's function reveals a crossover to a linear temperature dependence of the thermal decay rate of Bose polarons as unitary interactions are approached.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.223401

Theory of exciton-electron scattering in atomically thin semiconductors

C. Fey, P. Schmelcher, A. Imamoglu, R. Schmidt

Physical Review B 101 (19), 195417 (2020).

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The realization of mixtures of excitons and charge carriers in van der Waals materials presents a frontier for the study of the many-body physics of strongly interacting Bose-Fermi mixtures. In order to derive an effective low-energy model for such systems, we develop an exact diagonalization approach based on a discrete variable representation that predicts the scattering and bound state properties of three charges in two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides. From the solution of the quantum mechanical three-body problem we thus obtain the bound state energies of excitons and trions within an effective mass model which are in excellent agreement with quantum Monte Carlo predictions. The diagonalization approach also gives access to excited states of the three-body system. This allows us to predict the scattering phase shifts of electrons and excitons that serve as input for a low-energy theory of interacting mixtures of excitons and charge carriers at finite density. To this end we derive an effective exciton-electron scattering potential that is directly applicable for quantum Monte Carlo or diagrammatic many-body techniques. As an example, we demonstrate the approach by studying the many-body physics of exciton Fermi polarons in transition-metal dichalcogenides, and we show that finite-range corrections have a substantial impact on the optical absorption spectrum. Our approach can be applied to a plethora of many-body phenomena realizable in atomically thin semiconductors ranging from exciton localization to induced superconductivity.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.101.195417

Intermolecular forces and correlations mediated by a phonon bath

X. Li, E. Yakaboylu, G. Bighin, R. Schmidt, M. Lemeshko, A. Deuchert

Journal of Chemical Physics 152 (16), 164302 (2020).

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Inspired by the possibility to experimentally manipulate and enhance chemical reactivity in helium nanodroplets, we investigate the effective interaction and the resulting correlations between two diatomic molecules immersed in a bath of bosons. By analogy with the bipolaron, we introduce the biangulon quasiparticle describing two rotating molecules that align with respect to each other due to the effective attractive interaction mediated by the excitations of the bath. We study this system in different parameter regimes and apply several theoretical approaches to describe its properties. Using a Born-Oppenheimer approximation, we investigate the dependence of the effective intermolecular interaction on the rotational state of the two molecules. In the strong-coupling regime, a product-state ansatz shows that the molecules tend to have a strong alignment in the ground state. To investigate the system in the weak-coupling regime, we apply a one-phonon excitation variational ansatz, which allows us to access the energy spectrum. In comparison to the angulon quasiparticle, the biangulon shows shifted angulon instabilities and an additional spectral instability, where resonant angular momentum transfer between the molecules and the bath takes place. These features are proposed as an experimentally observable signature for the formation of the biangulon quasiparticle. Finally, by using products of single angulon and bare impurity wave functions as basis states, we introduce a diagonalization scheme that allows us to describe the transition from two separated angulons to a biangulon as a function of the distance between the two molecules.

DOI: 10.1063/1.5144759

Interacting Polaron-Polaritons

L.B. Tan, O. Cotlet, A. Bergschneider, R. Schmidt, P. Back, Y. Shimazaki, M. Kroner, A. Imamoglu

Physical Review X 10, 21011 (2020).

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Two-dimensional semiconductors provide an ideal platform for exploration of linear exciton and polariton physics, primarily due to large exciton binding energy and strong light-matter coupling. These features, however, generically imply reduced exciton-exciton interactions, hindering the realization of active optical devices such as lasers or parametric oscillators. Here, we show that electrical injection of itinerant electrons into monolayer molybdenum diselenide allows us to overcome this limitation: dynamical screening of exciton-polaritons by electrons leads to the formation of new quasiparticles termed polaron-polaritons that exhibit unexpectedly strong interactions as well as optical amplification by Bose-enhanced polaron-electron scattering. To measure the nonlinear optical response, we carry out time-resolved pump-probe measurements and observe polaron-polariton interaction enhancement by a factor of 50 (0.5 μeV μm2) as compared to exciton-polaritons. Concurrently, we measure a spectrally integrated transmission gain of the probe field of ≳2 stemming from stimulated scattering of polaron-polaritons. We show theoretically that the nonequilibrium nature of optically excited quasiparticles favors a previously unexplored interaction mechanism stemming from a phase-space filling in the screening cloud, which provides an accurate explanation of the strong repulsive interactions observed experimentally. Our findings show that itinerant electron-exciton interactions provide an invaluable tool for electronic manipulation of optical properties, demonstrate a new mechanism for dramatically enhancing polariton-polariton interactions, and pave the way for realization of nonequilibrium polariton condensates.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.10.021011

Rydberg impurity in a Fermi gas: Quantum statistics and rotational blockade

J. Sous, H.R. Sadeghpour, T.C. Killian, E. Demler, R. Schmidt

Physical Review Research 2, 23021 (2020).

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We consider the quench of an atomic impurity via a single Rydberg excitation in a degenerate Fermi gas. The Rydberg interaction with the background gas particles induces an ultralong-range potential that binds particles to form dimers, trimers, tetramers, etc. Such oligomeric molecules were recently observed in atomic Bose-Einstein condensates. Understanding the effects of a correlated background on molecule formation, absent in bosonic baths, is crucial to explain ongoing experiments with Fermi gases. In this work we demonstrate with a functional determinant approach that quantum statistics and fluctuations have clear observable consequences. We show that the occupation of molecular states is predicated on the Fermi statistics, which suppresses molecular formation in an emergent molecular shell structure. At high gas densities this leads to spectral narrowing, which can serve as a probe of the quantum gas thermodynamic properties. Rydberg excitations in Fermi gases go beyond traditional impurity problems, creating an opportunity for studies of mesoscopic interactions in synthetic quantum matter.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023021

Wigner crystals in two-dimensional transition-metal dichalcogenides: Spin physics and readout

J. Knoerzer, M.J.A. Schuetz, G. Giedke, D.S. Wild, K. De Greve, R. Schmidt, M.D. Lukin, J.I. Cirac

Physical Review B 101 (12), 125101 (2020).

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Wigner crystals are prime candidates for the realization of regular electron lattices under minimal requirements on external control and electronics. However, several technical challenges have prevented their detailed experimental investigation and applications to date. We propose an implementation of two-dimensional electron lattices for quantum simulation of Ising spin systems based on self-assembled Wigner crystals in transition-metal dichalcogenides. We show that these semiconductors allow for minimally invasive all-optical detection schemes of charge ordering and total spin. For incident light with optimally chosen beam parameters and polarization, we predict a strong dependence of the transmitted and reflected signals on the underlying lattice periodicity, thus revealing the charge order inherent in Wigner crystals. At the same time, the selection rules in transition-metal dichalcogenides provide direct access to the spin degree of freedom via Faraday rotation measurements.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.101.125101

Efficient variational approach to dynamics of a spatially extended bosonic Kondo model

Y. Ashida, T. Shi, R. Schmidt, H.R. Sadeghpour, J.I. Cirac, E. Demler

Physical Review A 100 (4), 043618 (2019).

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We develop an efficient variational approach to studying dynamics of a localized quantum spin coupled to a bath of mobile spinful bosons. We use parity symmetry to decouple the impurity spin from the environment via a canonical transformation and reduce the problem to a model of the interacting bosonic bath. We describe coherent time evolution of the latter using bosonic Gaussian states as a variational ansatz. We provide full analytical expressions for equations describing variational time evolution that can be applied to study in- and out-of-equilibrium phenomena in a wide class of quantum impurity problems. In the accompanying paper [Ashida et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 183001 (2019)], we present a concrete application of this general formalism to the analysis of the Rydberg central spin model, in which the spin-1/2 Rydberg impurity undergoes spin-changing collisions in a dense cloud of two-component ultracold bosons. To illustrate new features arising from orbital motion of the bath atoms, we compare our results to the Monte Carlo study of the model with spatially localized bosons in the bath, in which random positions of the atoms give rise to random couplings of the standard central spin model.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.100.043618

Quantum Rydberg Central Spin Model

Y. Ashida, T. Shi, R. Schmidt, H.R. Sadeghpour, J.I. Cirac, E. Demler

Physical Review Letters 123 (8), 183001 (2019).

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We consider dynamics of a Rydberg impurity in a cloud of ultracold bosonic atoms in which the Rydberg electron undergoes spin-changing collisions with surrounding atoms. This system realizes a new type of quantum impurity problems that compounds essential features of the Kondo model, the Bose polaron, and the central spin model. To capture the interplay of the Rydberg-electron spin dynamics and the orbital motion of atoms, we employ a new variational method that combines an impurity-decoupling transformation with a Gaussian ansatz for the bath particles. We find several unexpected features of this model that are not present in traditional impurity problems, including interaction-induced renormalization of the absorption spectrum that eludes simple explanations from molecular bound states, and long-lasting oscillations of the Rydberg-electron spin. We discuss generalizations of our analysis to other systems in atomic physics and quantum chemistry, where an electron excitation of high orbital quantum number interacts with a spinful quantum bath.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.183001

Transport of Neutral Optical Excitations Using Electric Fields

O. Cotlet, F. Pientka, R. Schmidt, G. Zarand, E. Demler, A. Imamoglu,

Physical Review X 9, 214505 (2019).

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Mobile quantum impurities interacting with a fermionic bath form quasiparticles known as Fermi polarons. We demonstrate that a force applied to the bath particles can generate a drag force of similar magnitude acting on the impurities, realizing a novel, nonperturbative Coulomb drag effect. To prove this, we calculate the fully self-consistent, frequency-dependent transconductivity at zero temperature in the Baym-Kadanoff conserving approximation. We apply our theory to excitons and exciton polaritons interacting with a bath of charge carriers in a doped semiconductor embedded in a microcavity. In external electric and magnetic fields, the drag effect enables electrical control of excitons and may pave the way for the implementation of gauge fields for excitons and polaritons. Moreover, a reciprocal effect may facilitate optical manipulation of electron transport. Our findings establish transport measurements as a novel, powerful tool for probing the many-body physics of mobile quantum impurities.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.9.041019

Probing nonlocal spatial correlations in quantum gases with ultra-long-range Rydberg molecules

J.D. Whalen, S.K. Kanungo, R. Ding, M. Wagner, R. Schmidt, H.R. Sadeghpour, S. Yoshida, J. Burgdörfer, F.B. Dunning, T.C. Killian

Physical Review A 100, 11402 (2019).

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We present photoexcitation of ultra-long-range Rydberg molecules as a probe of spatial correlations in bosonic and fermionic quantum gases. Rydberg molecules can be created with well-defined internuclear spacing, set by the radius of the outer lobe of the Rydberg electron wave function Rn. By varying the principal quantum number n of the target Rydberg state, the molecular excitation rate can be used to map the pair-correlation function of the trapped gas g(2)(Rn). We demonstrate this with ultracold Sr gases and probe pair-separation length scales in the range Rn=1400–3200 a0, which are on the order of the thermal de Broglie wavelength for temperatures around 1 μK. We observe bunching for a single-component Bose gas of 84Sr and antibunching due to Pauli exclusion at short distances for a polarized Fermi gas of 87Sr, revealing the effects of quantum statistics.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.100.011402

Site-selectively generated photon emitters in monolayer MoS2 via local helium ion irradiation

J. Klein, M. Lorke, M. Florian, F. Sigger, J. Wierzbowski, J. Cerne, K. Müller, T. Taniguchi, K. Watanabe, U. Wurstbauer, M. Kaniber, M. Knap, R. Schmidt, J. Finley, A. Holleitner.

Nature Communications 10, Article number: 2755 (2019).

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Quantum light sources in solid-state systems are of major interest as a basic ingredient for integrated quantum photonic technologies. The ability to tailor quantum emitters via site-selective defect engineering is essential for realizing scalable architectures. However, a major difficulty is that defects need to be controllably positioned within the material. Here, we overcome this challenge by controllably irradiating monolayer MoS2 using a sub-nm focused helium ion beam to deterministically create defects. Subsequent encapsulation of the ion exposed MoS2 flake with high-quality hBN reveals spectrally narrow emission lines that produce photons in the visible spectral range. Based on ab-initio calculations we interpret these emission lines as stemming from the recombination of highly localized electron–hole complexes at defect states generated by the local helium ion exposure. Our approach to deterministically write optically active defect states in a single transition metal dichalcogenide layer provides a platform for realizing exotic many-body systems, including coupled single-photon sources and interacting exciton lattices that may allow the exploration of Hubbard physics.

DOI: 0.1038/s41467-019-10632-z

Atomtronics with a spin: Statistics of spin transport and nonequilibrium orthogonality catastrophe in cold quantum gases

J.S. You, R. Schmidt, D.A. Ivanov, M. Knap, and E. Demler.

Physical Review B 99, 214505 (2019).

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We propose to investigate the full counting statistics of nonequilibrium spin transport with an ultracold atomic quantum gas. The setup makes use of the spin control available in atomic systems to generate spin transport induced by an impurity atom immersed in a spin-imbalanced two-component Fermi gas. In contrast to solid-state realizations, in ultracold atoms spin relaxation and the decoherence from external sources is largely suppressed. As a consequence, once the spin current is turned off by manipulating the internal spin degrees of freedom of the Fermi system, the nonequilibrium spin population remains constant. Thus one can directly count the number of spins in each reservoir to investigate the full counting statistics of spin flips, which is notoriously challenging in solid-state devices. Moreover, using Ramsey interferometry, the dynamical impurity response can be measured. Since the impurity interacts with a many-body environment that is out of equilibrium, our setup provides a way to realize the nonequilibrium orthogonality catastrophe. Here, even for spin reservoirs initially prepared in a zero-temperature state, the Ramsey response exhibits an exponential decay, which is in contrast to the conventional power-law decay of Anderson's orthogonality catastrophe. By mapping our system to a multistep Fermi sea, we are able to derive analytical expressions for the impurity response at late times. This allows us to reveal an intimate connection of the decay rate of the Ramsey contrast and the full counting statistics of spin flips.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.99.214505

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