Bloch oscillations in the absence of a lattice

Florian Meinert 1 Michael Knap 2 Emil Kirilov 1 Katharina Jag-Lauber 1 Mikhail B. Zvonarev 3 Eugene Demler 4 Hanns-Christoph Nägerl 1

Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017, 356 (6341), pp.945 - 948

We experimentally investigate the quantum motion of an impurity atom that is immersed in a strongly interacting one-dimensional Bose liquid and is subject to an external force. We find that the momentum distribution of the impurity exhibits characteristic Bragg reflections at the edge of an emergent Brillouin zone. While Bragg reflections are typically associated with lattice structures, in our strongly correlated quantum liquid they result from the interplay of short-range crystalline order and kinematic constraints on the many-body scattering processes in the one-dimensional system. As a consequence, the impurity exhibits periodic dynamics that we interpret as Bloch oscillations, which arise even though the quantum liquid is translationally invariant. Our observations are supported by large-scale numerical simulations.

  • 1. Institut für Experimentalphysik und Zentrum für Quantenphysik Universitat Innsbruck
  • 2. TUM - Technical University of Munich
  • 3. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques
  • 4. Harvard University [Cambridge]