Using the principles of quantum simulation, we are interested in studying many-body systems that represent models that are difficult or impossible to solve using conventional methods.  In particular, we are interested in out-of-equilibrium phenomena and their roles in the birth, preservation, and demise of quantum mechanical correlations in these generic many-body systems.  From these lessons, we hope to guide the design and manufacture of next-generation devices that use these phenomena to our advantage.

The “many-body order” in which we are interested includes the order associated with Bose-Einstein condensation, with interaction-driven transitions in periodic lattice geometries, and with the introduction of artificial gauge fields to introduce magnetic-field or spin-orbit degrees of freedom.  We are especially interested in expanding upon the Raman-transition techniques recently developed for in the artificial gauge field community to engineer situations for long-lasting states and for implementing new kinds of order that may not be possible in other systems.

The laboratories are situated in the new Centennial Centre of Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) at the University of Alberta, just next to the Canada Research Council's National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT). 

The experiments

Quantum simulation of non-equilibrium systems 

We will construct a rubidium-potassium ultracold quantum gas machine.  For the initial experiments, we plan to use bosonic isotopes of both species. These atoms will be laser cooled, then magnetically trapped, evaporatively cooled using rf radiation, and transferred to an optical trap for final preparation.  The apparatus will include the capacity to add artificial gauge fields using Raman transitions, controllable interspecies interactions, and eventually optical lattices.  With these capabilities, we will introduce many-body order to the quantum gases and study its evolution in out-of-equilibrium processes.

With this dual-species apparatus, we have the opportunity to study the transfer of energy, entropy, or quantum correlations between systems. These tools allow us to study the role of dissipation and to study basic thermodynamic processes in this system, especially near phase transitions -- those points at which the many-body order is created, and where fluctuations in the system, its finite size, and the types of interactions involved most affect the system.  Through these studies, we will gain insight into “real-world” systems as we work towards the development of new quantum technologies.

Hybrid quantum systems

We will develop technologies for incorporating ultracold atomic gases with solid- state electronics to take advantage of the quantum coherence properties of the atoms and functionality of the electronic devices within existing information processing architectures. In particular, we will address magnetic degrees of freedom in the atom’s internal states using oscillatory magnetic fields produced by the solid state devices, and implement a scheme for transferring quantum coherence between these very different systems. Our ultimate goal is to implement full quantum state control of the hybrid system, with the ability to transfer quantum coherence between the quantum gas and solid state system in both directions. This will include the ability to store information in the quantum gas over long times and read it out using the electronics of the solid state device. 

© Lindsay J LeBlanc 2013