Quantum Kibble-Zurek Mechanism in a Spin-1 Bose-Einstein Condensate

Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Apr 15;116(15):155301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.155301. Epub 2016 Apr 12.


The dynamics of a quantum phase transition are explored using slow quenches from the polar to the broken-axisymmetry phases in a small spin-1 ferromagnetic Bose-Einstein condensate. Measurements of the evolution of the spin populations reveal a power-law scaling of the temporal onset of excitations versus quench speed as predicted from quantum extensions of the Kibble-Zurek mechanism. The satisfactory agreement of the measured scaling exponent with the analytical theory and numerical simulations provides experimental confirmation of the quantum Kibble-Zurek model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.