Towards Quantum Simulation with Circular Rydberg Atoms

Thanh Long Nguyen 1 Jean-Michel Raimond 1 Clément Sayrin 1 Rodrigo Cortinas 1 Tigrane Cantat-Moltrecht 1 Fédéric Assemat 1 Igor Dotsenko 1 Sébastien Gleyzes 1 Serge Haroche 1 Guillaume Roux 2 Thierry Jolicoeur 2 Michel Brune 1

Physical Review X, American Physical Society, 2018, 8 (1), 〈10.1103/PhysRevX.8.011032〉

The main objective of quantum simulation is an in-depth understanding of many-body physics. It is important for fundamental issues (quantum phase transitions, transport, . . . ) and for the development of innovative materials. Analytic approaches to many-body systems are limited and the huge size of their Hilbert space makes numerical simulations on classical computers intractable. A quantum simulator avoids these limitations by transcribing the system of interest into another, with the same dynamics but with interaction parameters under control and with experimental access to all relevant observables. Quantum simulation of spin systems is being explored with trapped ions, neutral atoms and superconducting devices. We propose here a new paradigm for quantum simulation of spin-1/2 arrays providing unprecedented flexibility and allowing one to explore domains beyond the reach of other platforms. It is based on laser-trapped circular Rydberg atoms. Their long intrinsic lifetimes combined with the inhibition of their microwave spontaneous emission and their low sensitivity to collisions and photoionization make trapping lifetimes in the minute range realistic with state-of-the-art techniques. Ultra-cold defect-free circular atom chains can be prepared by a variant of the evaporative cooling method. This method also leads to the individual detection of arbitrary spin observables. The proposed simulator realizes an XXZ spin-1/2 Hamiltonian with nearest-neighbor couplings ranging from a few to tens of kHz. All the model parameters can be tuned at will, making a large range of simulations accessible. The system evolution can be followed over times in the range of seconds, long enough to be relevant for ground-state adiabatic preparation and for the study of thermalization, disorder or Floquet time crystals. This platform presents unrivaled features for quantum simulation.

  • 1. LKB [Collège de France] - Laboratoire Kastler Brossel
  • 2. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques