Quantum wake dynamics in Heisenberg antiferromagnetic chains

Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 2;13(1):5796. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33571-8.


Traditional spectroscopy, by its very nature, characterizes physical system properties in the momentum and frequency domains. However, the most interesting and potentially practically useful quantum many-body effects emerge from local, short-time correlations. Here, using inelastic neutron scattering and methods of integrability, we experimentally observe and theoretically describe a local, coherent, long-lived, quasiperiodically oscillating magnetic state emerging out of the distillation of propagating excitations following a local quantum quench in a Heisenberg antiferromagnetic chain. This "quantum wake" displays similarities to Floquet states, discrete time crystals and nonlinear Luttinger liquids. We also show how this technique reveals the non-commutativity of spin operators, and is thus a model-agnostic measure of a magnetic system's "quantumness."