Light induced dynamics and control of correlated quantum systems
Systems composed of several individual particles, called many-body systems, are at the heart of physics and in many ways even of science in general. Since Kepler first investigated the classical three-body problem, the search for universal descriptions of many-body systems has stimulated and fascinated generations of physicists and natural scientists alike. With the development of quantum theory and the concept of indistinguishable particles, the question of a full description of quantum many-body systems arose and was soon identified to be a very fundamental and complex problem. It is known that the correlations arising from strong interactions between particles in a many-body system very often completely dominate the system’s behaviour and lead to some of the most striking phenomena observed in nature, with high-temperature superconductivity and unconventional magnetism being two prominent examples. In the last decades substantial progress has been achieved in understanding the ground state properties of correlated many-body quantum systems, although some fundamental questions are still unsolved here. In contrast, very little is known on the dynamics of quantum systems far from equilibrium and on how correlations influence these dynamics.
Systems studied in the SFB:
a) Small quantum systems such as atoms and small molecules, b) correlated condensed-matter systems, c) quantum gases in optical lattices.
The SFB925 aims at a deep understanding of the dynamics of correlated quantum systems on all length and time scales. In a joint effort, the participating scientist investigate fundamental questions concerning the dynamical evolution of quantum systems and the corresponding influence on the correlations. The vision is to uncover fundamental aspects of universality in the dynamics of complex quantum systems. As a central aspect, light will be used to study dynamics and in a second step to influence and to control this dynamics.
The SFB concentrates on systems, ranging from atoms and molecules – as ‘small systems’ in which correlations can be studied and controlled on a very fundamental level – to condensed matter systems – as ‘large’ complex many-body systems, including the above mentioned unconventional superconductors and magnetic systems. As an important connecting element, model systems – ultracold quantum gases in optical lattices – are included, allowing a comparison between small and large as model and real systems and hence to achieve a general insights.
The SFB925 is based on the structural development of physics in Hamburg in the last years which strengthened the areas of atomic, molecular, ultrafast and condensed-matter physics as well as quantum optics enormously. It combines expertise from all of these fields at the University of Hamburg and its partners, the Helmholtz-centre ‘DESY’, the Max-Planck society and the European X-FEL GmbH, to build up a strong and well suited research collaboration in order to address the challenging questions of man-body quantum physics.
The SFB925 combines this research program with a training of young researchers at the highest level, with modern concepts of gender equality and family support and includes a specific public outreach program.