We measure the thermalization dynamics of a lattice Bose gas that is Stark localized by a parabolic potential. A nonequilibrium thermal density distribution is created by quickly removing an optical barrier. The resulting spatiotemporal dynamics are resolved using Mardia's B statistic, which is a measure sensitive to the shape of the entire density distribution. We conclude that equilibrium is achieved for all lattice potential depths that we sample, including the strongly interacting and localized regime. However, thermalization is slow and nonexponential, requiring up to 500 tunneling times. We show that the Hubbard U term is not responsible for thermalization via comparison to an exact diagonalization calculation, and we rule out equilibration driven by lattice-light heating by varying the laser wavelength. The thermalization timescale is comparable to the next-nearest-neighbor tunneling time, which suggests that a continuum, strongly interacting theory may be needed to understand equilibration in this system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics