Exploring the many-body localization transition in two dimensions

Jae Yoon Choi, Sebastian Hild, Johannes Zeiher, Peter Schauß, Antonio Rubio-Abadal, Tarik Yefsah, Vedika Khemani, David A. Huse, Immanuel Bloch, Christian Gross

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328 Scopus citations


A fundamental assumption in statistical physics is that generic closed quantum many-body systems thermalize under their own dynamics. Recently, the emergence of many-body localized systems has questioned this concept and challenged our understanding of the connection between statistical physics and quantum mechanics. Here we report on the observation of a many-body localization transition between thermal and localized phases for bosons in a two-dimensional disordered optical lattice.With our single-site-resolved measurements, we track the relaxation dynamics of an initially prepared out-of-equilibrium density pattern and find strong evidence for a diverging length scale when approaching the localization transition. Our experiments represent a demonstration and in-depth characterization of many-body localization in a regime not accessible with state-of-the-art simulations on classical computers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1552
Number of pages6
Issue number6293
StatePublished - Jun 24 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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    Choi, J. Y., Hild, S., Zeiher, J., Schauß, P., Rubio-Abadal, A., Yefsah, T., Khemani, V., Huse, D. A., Bloch, I., & Gross, C. (2016). Exploring the many-body localization transition in two dimensions. Science, 352(6293), 1547-1552. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf8834