Ultracold atoms in optical lattices offer a unique platform for investigating disorder-driven phenomena. While static disordered site potentials have been explored in a number of experiments, a more general, dynamical control over site-energy and off-diagonal tunnelling disorder has been lacking. The use of atomic quantum states as synthetic dimensions has introduced the spectroscopic, site-resolved control necessary to engineer more tailored realisations of disorder. Here, we present explorations of dynamical and tunneling disorder in an atomic system by controlling laser-driven dynamics of atomic population in a momentum-space lattice. By applying static tunnelling phase disorder to a one-dimensional lattice, we observe ballistic quantum spreading. When the applied disorder fluctuates on time scales comparable to intersite tunnelling, we instead observe diffusive atomic transport, signalling a crossover from quantum to classical expansion dynamics. We compare these observations to the case of static site-energy disorder, where we directly observe quantum localisation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)