Interaction-induced conducting–non-conducting transition of ultra-cold atoms in one-dimensional optical lattices Public Deposited

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  • The study of time-dependent, many-body transport phenomena is increasingly within reach of ultra-cold atom experiments. We show that the introduction of spatially inhomogeneous interactions, e.g., generated by optically controlled collisions, induce negative differential conductance in the transport of atoms in one-dimensional optical lattices. Specifically, we simulate the dynamics of interacting fermionic atoms via a micro-canonical transport formalism within both a mean-field and a higher-order approximation, as well as with a time-dependent density-matrix renormalization group (DMRG). For weakly repulsive interactions, a quasi-steady-state atomic current develops that is similar to the situation occurring for electronic systems subject to an external voltage bias. At the mean-field level, we find that this atomic current is robust against the details of how the interaction is switched on. Further, a conducting-non-conducting transition exists when the interaction imbalance exceeds some threshold from both our approximate and time-dependent DMRG simulations. This transition is preceded by the atomic equivalent of negative differential conductivity observed in transport across solid-state structures.
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  • Chien, C., Gruss, D., Di Ventra, M., & Zwolak, M. (2013). Interaction-induced conducting-non-conducting transition of ultra-cold atoms in one-dimensional optical lattices. New Journal of Physics, 15 doi:10.1088/1367-2630/15/6/063026
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