Quantum Spin Dimers from Chiral Dissipation in Cold-Atom Chains

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


Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 237203 (2014)

We consider the non-equilibrium dynamics of a driven dissipative spin chain with chiral coupling to a 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 quasi-condensate 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.