Friday, February 22, 2013

1302.5343 (S. Ulm et al.)

Observation of the Kibble-Zurek scaling law for defect formation in ion

S. Ulm, J. Roßnagel, G. Jacob, C. Degünther, S. T. Dawkins, U. G. Poschinger, R. Nigmatullin, A. Retzker, M. B. Plenio, F. Schmidt-Kaler, K. Singer
Traversal of a symmetry-breaking phase transition at a finite rate can lead to causallyseparated regions with incompatible symmetries and the formation of defects at their boundaries. The defect formation follows universal scaling laws prescribed by the Kibble-Zurek mechanism (KZM) important to the study of phase transitions in fields as diverse as quantum and statistical mechanics, condensed matter physics and cosmology. Here, we observe the KZM in a crystal of cold trapped ions, which is conducive to the precise control of structural phases and the detection of defects. The experiment confirms a scaling law with an exponent of 2.68 +/- 0.06, as predicted from the KZM in the finite inhomogeneous case. Such precision makes it feasible to use ion crystals for quantitative tests of classical and quantum statistical mechanics.
View original:

No comments:

Post a Comment