Quantum spin dimers from chiral dissipation in cold-atom chains

Tomás Ramos, Hannes Pichler, Andrew J. Daley, Peter Zoller

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We consider the nonequilibrium dynamics of a driven dissipative spin chain with chiral coupling to a one-dimensional (1D) bosonic bath, and its atomic implementation with a two-species mixture of cold quantum gases. The reservoir is represented by a spin-orbit coupled 1D quasicondensate of atoms in a magnetized phase, while the spins are identified with motional states of a separate species of atoms in an optical lattice. The chirality of reservoir excitations allows the spins to couple differently to left- and right-moving modes, which in our atomic setup can be tuned from bidirectional to purely unidirectional. Remarkably, this leads to a pure steady state in which pairs of neighboring spins form dimers that decouple from the remainder of the chain. Our results also apply to current experiments with two-level emitters coupled to photonic waveguides.

Original languageEnglish
Article number237203
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23
Early online date3 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2014


  • chiral coupling
  • quantum spin dimers
  • optical lattice


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