Dynamics of an itinerant spin-3 atomic dipolar gas in an optical lattice

Arrays of ultracold dipolar gases loaded in optical lattices are emerging as powerful quantum simulators of the many-body physics associated with the rich interplay between long-range dipolar interactions, contact interactions, motion, and quantum statistics. In this work we report on our investigation of the quantum many-body dynamics of a large ensemble of bosonic magnetic chromium atoms with spin S=3 in a three-dimensional lattice as a function of lattice depth. Using extensive theory and experimental comparisons, we study the dynamics of the population of the different Zeeman levels and the total magnetization of the gas across the superfluid to the Mott insulator transition. We are able to identify two distinct regimes. At low lattice depths, where atoms are in the superfluid regime, we observe that the spin dynamics is strongly determined by the competition between particle motion, on-site interactions, and external magnetic-field gradients. Contact spin-dependent interactions help to stabilize the collective spin length, which sets the total magnetization of the gas. On the contrary, at high lattice depths, transport is largely frozen out. In this regime, while the spin populations are mainly driven by long-range dipolar interactions, magnetic-field gradients also play a major role in the total spin demagnetization. We find that the dynamics at low lattice depth is qualitatively reproduced by mean-field calculations based on the Gutzwiller ansatz; on the contrary, only a beyond-mean-field theory can account for the dynamics at large lattice depths. While the crossover between these two regimes does not display sharp features in the observed dynamical evolution of the spin components, our simulations indicate that it would be better revealed by measurements of the collective spin length.

P. Fersterer, A. Safavi-Naini, B. Zhu, L. Gabardos, S. Lepoutre, L. Vernac, B. Laburthe-Tolra, P. Blair Blakie, and A. Maria Rey.
Phys. Rev. A 100, 033609 (2019) (arxiv here)

Some other recent works from this team:
– Cooling all external degrees of freedom of optically trapped chromium atoms using gray molasses.
L. Gabardos, S. Lepoutre, O. Gorceix, L. Vernac, and B. Laburthe-Tolra
Phys. Rev. A 99, 023607 (2019),
– Out-of-equilibrium quantum magnetism and thermalization in a spin-3 many-body dipolar lattice system.
S. Lepoutre, J. Schachenmayer, L. Gabardos, B. Zhu, B. Naylor, E. Maréchal, O. Gorceix, A. M. Rey, L. Vernac & B. Laburthe-Tolra
Nature Communications 10, 1714 (2019),

Schematic of the system diagram indicating the 3D geometry of the optical lattice, the interactions, and tunneling processes. The magnetic field (with direction in the uXuY plane) has a gradient lying along the uZ direction (lower inset). Each spin-3 chromium atom also has its sublevels shifted by a quadratic Zeeman term (upper inset).