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Many-body Quantum Dynamics

Cavendish Laboratory
Transition from Mott Insulator to staggered Superfluid

In our lastest work we have used a resonantly driven optical lattice to turn the Mott transition into a first-order (discontinuous) transition. We were able to directly observe the associated hysteresis and metastability, where the system remains stuck in its original phase (the false vacuum) even though the ground state has changed.

In contrast to earlier work, we use a strongly correlated system of bosonic atoms in an optical lattice, where quantum fluctuations play an important role. This opens the door to studying the quantum decay of such a metastable state, termed false-vacuum decay, which is relevant in particle physics and cosmology as an analogue of the ‘Big Bang’ in inflationary universes.

Press release


TCM Reserach Highlights


Original Article

Realizing discontinuous quantum phase transitions in a strongly-correlated driven optical lattice

Bo Song, Shovan Dutta, Shaurya Bhave, Jr-Chiun Yu, Edward Carter, Nigel Cooper, Ulrich Schneider
Nature Physics 18, 259 (2022)

Latest news

IOP Joseph Thomson Medal

22 December 2023

Professor Ulrich Schneider received the IOP 2023 Joseph Thomson Medal and Prize for groundbreaking experiments on the collective dynamics of quantum gases in optical lattices, including fundamental studies of localization effects in both disordered and quasicrystalline systems. More information at:

Postdoc Positions available

1 July 2023

We have two experimental postdoc opportunities on many-body physics in Optical Quasicrystals and on being part of the UK Quantum Technology Hub and developing optical optical-lattice and tweezer-based Quantum Simulators . More information at: Applications close on 15/8/23.

Observing the two-dimensional Bose glass in an optical quasicrystal

2 March 2023

Our latest work on observing the two-dimensional Bose glass in our optical quasicrystal is now on the Arxiv: Arxiv:2303.00737 . We could not only observe the Bose glass and the phase transition between Bose glass and superfluid, but could furthermore experimentally establish the non-ergodic character of the Bose glass...

Hubbard Models for Quasicrystalline Potentials

13 October 2022

Our latest work on creating Hubbard Models for Quasicrystalline Potentials is now on the Arxiv (2210.05691). In it, we present a numerical method for constructing the Hubbard Hamiltonian of non-periodic potentials without making use of Bloch's theorem, and then apply it to the eightfold rotationally symmetric 2D optical...