Non-equilibrium quantum dynamics and formation of the Bose polaron

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Advancing our understanding of non-equilibrium phenomena in quantum many-body systems remains one of the greatest challenges in physics. Here we report on the experimental observation of a paradigmatic many-body problem, namely the non-equilibrium dynamics of a quantum impurity immersed in a bosonic environment. We use an interferometric technique to prepare coherent superposition states of atoms in a Bose–Einstein condensate with a small impurity-state component, and monitor the evolution of such quantum superpositions into polaronic quasiparticles. These results offer a systematic picture of polaron formation from weak to strong impurity interactions. They reveal three distinct regimes of evolution with dynamical transitions that provide a link between few-body processes and many-body dynamics. Our measurements reveal universal dynamical behaviour in interacting many-body systems and demonstrate new pathways to study non-equilibrium quantum phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Physics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2021

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