The formation of an equilibrium state from an uncorrelated thermal one through the dynamical crossing of a phase transition is a central question of quantum many-body physics. During such crossing, the system breaks its symmetry by establishing numerous uncorrelated regions separated by spontaneously generated defects, whose emergence obeys a universal scaling law with quench duration. The ensuing re-equilibrating or “coarse-graining” stage is governed by the evolution and interactions of such defects under system-specific and external constraints. We perform a detailed numerical characterisation of the entire non-equilibrium process associated with the Bose–Einstein condensation phase transition in a three-dimensional gas of ultracold atoms, addressing subtle issues and demonstrating the quench-induced decoupling of condensate atom number and coherence growth during the re-equilibration process. Our findings agree, in a statistical sense, with experimental observations made at the later stages of the quench, and provide valuable information and useful dynamical visualisations in currently experimentally inaccessible regimes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)