Out-of-equilibrium Quantum Magnetism and Thermalization in a spin-3 Many-Body Dipolar Lattice System
Understanding quantum thermalization through entanglement build up in isolated quantum systems addresses fundamental questions on how unitary dynamics connects to statistical physics. Spin systems made of long-range interacting atoms offer an ideal experimental platform to investigate this question. Here, we study the spin dynamics and approach towards local thermal equilibrium of a macroscopic ensemble of S = 3 chromium atoms pinned in a three dimensional optical lattice and prepared in a pure coherent spin state, under the effect of magnetic dipole–dipole interactions. Our isolated system thermalizes under its own dynamics, reaching a steady state consistent with a thermal ensemble with a temperature dictated from the system’s energy. The build up of quantum correlations during the dynamics is supported by comparison with an improved numerical quantum phase-space method. Our observations are consistent with a scenario of quantum thermalization linked to the growth of entanglement entropy. Isolated many-body quantum systems do not thermalize with an external environment but in most cases the internal dynamics leads to the emergence of an effective thermal equilibrium for local degrees of freedom. Here the authors study this behaviour with a realization of a long-range spin model.
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