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Fluctuating Nonlinear OscillatorsFrom Nanomechanics to Quantum Superconducting Circuits$
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Mark Dykman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691388.001.0001

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Spontaneous time‐symmetry breaking in a vibrating cold atom system

Spontaneous time‐symmetry breaking in a vibrating cold atom system

(p.220) 9 Spontaneous time‐symmetry breaking in a vibrating cold atom system
Fluctuating Nonlinear Oscillators

M.-S. Heo

Y. Kim

H.-R. Noh

W. Jhe

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the experimental and theoretical studies of a spontaneous time-translation symmetry breaking transition in a non-equilibrium cold atom system. Such studies prepare two vibrating atomic clouds by periodically modulating the laser intensity in a magneto-optical trap (MOT). For a comparatively small total number of trapped atoms the clouds have equal populations, a consequence of fluctuation-induced inter-cloud transitions. As the total number of atoms is increased, spontaneous breaking of the discrete time-translation symmetry is observed with respect to the modulation period. The measured critical exponents and the frequency dispersion of the response show an ideal mean-field transition behaviour. The symmetry breaking is due to the modification of fluctuational dynamics by the interatomic interaction. The chapter provides a theoretical model based on the activation energy and master equation which explains the experimental results well. The enhancement of the fluctuation which cannot be described by the mean-field model, is also discussed.

Keywords:   magneto-optical trap, non-equilibrium systems, time-translation symmetry breaking, critical exponent, ideal mean-field model, fluctuations, interatomic interaction

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