My research interests lie at the interface between atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed matter, and quantum information science. In recent years, the synergy between these fields has been strengthened by a tremendous amount of experimental progress, which has made it possible to assemble complex, strongly interacting, quantum many-body systems from individual atoms, ions, molecules and photons. These advances have opened the door to realizing non-equilibrium phases of matter, to understanding the dynamics of quantum thermalization (and of its failure), and to measuring the intrinsic properties of topological phases. Dialogue between theory and experiment is especially crucial to addressing these questions and my group employs a variety of theoretical, numerical and experimental tools.
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Time is an outlier, write assistant physics professor Norman Yao and Chetan Nayak, a colleague from UC Santa Barbara, in a report on research into the phenomenon of "time crystals" -- structures that repeat in time, as well as in space. "The epiphany that discrete time-translation symmetry can be treated on par with other, more conventional symmetries has revised our understanding of time and even has had an almost immediate effect on experiments," they say. Discussing those experiments and their implications, they conclude: "Although it is too early to say, the greatest long-term impact of time crystals may well be that they have opened our eyes to the new world of nonequilibrium phases of matter." For more on this, see our press release from 2017 in Berkeley News.