Dynamics of Hubbard-band quasiparticles in disordered optical lattices

V. W. Scarola, B. Demarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantum degenerate gases trapped in optical lattices are ideal test beds for fundamental physics because these systems are tunable, well characterized, and isolated from the environment. Controlled disorder can be introduced to explore suppression of quantum diffusion in the absence of conventional dephasing mechanisms such as phonons, which are unavoidable in experiments on electronic solids. Recent experiments use transport of degenerate Fermi gases in optical lattices [S. S. Kondov, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 083002 (2015)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.114.083002] to probe extreme regimes. These experiments find evidence for an intriguing insulating phase where quantum diffusion is completely suppressed by strong disorder. Quantitative interpretation of these experiments remains an open problem that requires inclusion of nonzero entropy, strong interaction, and trapping in an Anderson-Hubbard model. We argue that the suppression of transport can be thought of as localization of Hubbard-band quasiparticles. We construct a theory of dynamics of Hubbard-band quasiparticles tailored to trapped optical lattice experiments. We compare the theory directly with center-of-mass transport experiments of Kondov et al. with no fitting parameters. The close agreement between theory and experiments shows that the suppression of transport is only partly due to finite-entropy effects. We argue that the complete suppression of transport is consistent with short-time, finite-size precursors of Anderson localization of Hubbard-band quasiparticles. The combination of our theoretical framework and optical lattice experiments offers an important platform for studying localization in isolated many-body quantum systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053628
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 30 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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