Evidence for a quantum-to-classical transition in a pair of coupled quantum rotors

Bryce Gadway, Jeremy Reeves, Ludwig Krinner, Dominik Schneble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The understanding of how classical dynamics can emerge in closed quantum systems is a problem of fundamental importance. Remarkably, while classical behavior usually arises from coupling to thermal fluctuations or random spectral noise, it may also be an innate property of certain isolated, periodically driven quantum systems. Here, we experimentally realize the simplest such system, consisting of two coupled, kicked quantum rotors, by subjecting a coherent atomic matter wave to two periodically pulsed, incommensurate optical lattices. Momentum transport in this system is found to be radically different from that in a single kicked rotor, with a breakdown of dynamical localization and the emergence of classical diffusion. Our observation, which confirms a long-standing prediction for many-dimensional quantum-chaotic systems, sheds new light on the quantum-classical correspondence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number190401
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 7 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for a quantum-to-classical transition in a pair of coupled quantum rotors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this