Quantum simulation of ultrafast dynamics using trapped ultracold atoms

TitleQuantum simulation of ultrafast dynamics using trapped ultracold atoms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSenaratne R, Rajagopal SV, Shimasaki T, Dotti PE, Fujiwara KM, Singh K, Geiger ZA, Weld DM
JournalNature Communications
ISBN Number2041-1723

Ultrafast electronic dynamics are typically studied using pulsed lasers. Here we demonstrate a complementary experimental approach: quantum simulation of ultrafast dynamics using trapped ultracold atoms. Counter-intuitively, this technique emulates some of the fastest processes in atomic physics with some of the slowest, leading to a temporal magnification factor of up to 12 orders of magnitude. In these experiments, time-varying forces on neutral atoms in the ground state of a tunable optical trap emulate the electric fields of a pulsed laser acting on bound charged particles. We demonstrate the correspondence with ultrafast science by a sequence of experiments: nonlinear spectroscopy of a many-body bound state, control of the excitation spectrum by potential shaping, observation of sub-cycle unbinding dynamics during strong few-cycle pulses, and direct measurement of carrier-envelope phase dependence of the response to an ultrafast-equivalent pulse. These results establish cold-atom quantum simulation as a complementary tool for studying ultrafast dynamics.

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