Quantum gas microscopy of Kardar-Parisi-Zhang superdiffusion

Science, 12 May 2022, Vol 376, Issue 6594, pp. 716-720


May 19, 2022

The Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) universality class describes the coarse-grained behavior of a wealth of classical stochastic models. Surprisingly, KPZ universality was recently conjectured to also describe spin transport in the one-dimensional quantum Heisenberg model. We tested this conjecture by experimentally probing transport in a cold-atom quantum simulator via the relaxation of domain walls in spin chains of up to 50 spins. We found that domain-wall relaxation is indeed governed by the KPZ dynamical exponent z = 3/2 and that the occurrence of KPZ scaling requires both integrability and a nonabelian SU(2) symmetry.


Finally, we leveraged the single-spin–sensitive detection enabled by the quantum gas microscope to measure an observable based on spin-transport statistics. Our results yield a clear signature of the nonlinearity that is a hallmark of KPZ universality.

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