Quantum simulators have recently enabled experimental observations of quantum many-body systems' internal thermalisation. Often, the global energy and particle number are conserved, and the system is prepared with a well-defined particle number - in a microcanonical subspace. However, quantum evolution can also conserve quantities, or charges, that fail to commute with each other. Noncommuting charges have recently emerged as a subfield at the intersection of quantum thermodynamics and quantum information. Until now, this subfield has remained theoretical. We initiate the experimental testing of its predictions, with a trapped-ion simulator. We prepare 6-15 spins in an approximate microcanonical subspace, a generalisation of the microcanonical subspace for accommodating noncommuting charges, which cannot necessarily have well-defined nontrivial values simultaneously. We simulate a Heisenberg evolution using laser-induced entangling interactions and collective spin rotations. The noncommuting charges are the three spin components. We find that small subsystems equilibrate to near a recently predicted non-Abelian thermal state. This work bridges quantum many-body simulators to the quantum thermodynamics of noncommuting charges, whose predictions can now be tested.

UR - https://arxiv.org/abs/2202.04652 U5 - 10.48550/ARXIV.2202.04652 ER -