Thermalization is a ubiquitous process of statistical physics, in which details of few-body observables are washed out in favor of a featureless steady state. Even in isolated quantum many-body systems, limited to reversible dynamics, thermalization typically prevails. However, in these systems, there is another possibility: many-body localization (MBL) can result in preservation of a non-thermal state. While disorder has long been considered an essential ingredient for this phenomenon, recent theoretical work has suggested that a quantum many-body system with a uniformly increasing field -- but no disorder -- can also exhibit MBL, resulting in `Stark MBL.' Here we realize Stark MBL in a trapped-ion quantum simulator and demonstrate its key properties: halting of thermalization and slow propagation of correlations. Tailoring the interactions between ionic spins in an effective field gradient, we directly observe their microscopic equilibration for a variety of initial states, and we apply single-site control to measure correlations between separate regions of the spin chain. Further, by engineering a varying gradient, we create a disorder-free system with coexisting long-lived thermalized and nonthermal regions. The results demonstrate the unexpected generality of MBL, with implications about the fundamental requirements for thermalization and with potential uses in engineering long-lived non-equilibrium quantum matter.

%8 2/14/2021 %G eng %U https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.07250 %0 Journal Article %D 2019 %T Observation of Domain Wall Confinement and Dynamics in a Quantum Simulator %A W. L. Tan %A P. Becker %A F. Liu %A G. Pagano %A K. S. Collins %A A. De %A L. Feng %A H. B. Kaplan %A A. Kyprianidis %A R. Lundgren %A W. Morong %A S. Whitsitt %A Alexey V. Gorshkov %A C. Monroe %XConfinement is a ubiquitous mechanism in nature, whereby particles feel an attractive force that increases without bound as they separate. A prominent example is color confinement in particle physics, in which baryons and mesons are produced by quark confinement. Analogously, confinement can also occur in low-energy quantum many-body systems when elementary excitations are confined into bound quasiparticles. Here, we report the first observation of magnetic domain wall confinement in interacting spin chains with a trapped-ion quantum simulator. By measuring how correlations spread, we show that confinement can dramatically suppress information propagation and thermalization in such many-body systems. We are able to quantitatively determine the excitation energy of domain wall bound states from non-equilibrium quench dynamics. Furthermore, we study the number of domain wall excitations created for different quench parameters, in a regime that is difficult to model with classical computers. This work demonstrates the capability of quantum simulators for investigating exotic high-energy physics phenomena, such as quark collision and string breaking

%8 12/23/2019 %G eng %U https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.11117