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Langer, Stephan Markus (2012): Transport and real-time dynamics in one-dimensional quantum magnets and ultra-cold atomic gases. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics
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Abstract

The goal of this thesis is to study the transport properties and real-time dynamics of quantum magnets and ultra-cold atomic gases in one spatial dimension using numerical methods. The focus will be on the discussion of diffusive versus ballistic dynamics along with a detailed analysis of characteristic velocities in ballistic regimes. For the simulation of time-dependent density profiles we use the adaptive time-dependent density matrix renormalization group (DMRG). This numerical method allows for the simulation of time-dependent wave functions close to as well as far from equilibrium in a controlled manner. The studies of one-dimensional quantum magnets are partially motivated by the experimental evidence for a highly anisotropic and for insulators comparably high thermal conductivity of certain cuprates. We use linear response theory to study transport coefficients at arbitrary temperatures by diagonalizing small systems exactly and then calculating the current-current correlation functions. As first application we discuss the spin transport in the spin-$1/2$ Heisenberg chain with anisotropic exchange interactions (XXZ-chain). The second application of exact diagonalization, here in combination with time-dependent DMRG, is a discussion of the transverse components of the current-current correlation function. While usually only a Zeeman field is considered in the theory of transport coefficients, we here investigate the dynamic induced by an additional transverse magnetic field. We find that in this scenario the current-current correlation function exhibits coherent oscillations. In addition a second non-trivial frequency, different from the one expected from the usual Larmor precession, emerges and is studied varying temperature and field. Finally we calculate the frequency-dependent spin and heat conductivity of dimerized spin chains in a magnetic field. Motivated by the recent experimental studies of the phase diagram of C$_5$H$_{12}$N$_2$CuBr$_4$ we take the dimerized chain as a minimal model that exhibits features of the low-temperature region of the observed phase diagram. As a main result, the spin and heat conductivity obtained from linear response theory are enhanced in the field-induced gapless phase. The last application in the field of one-dimensional quantum magnets is the simulation of time-dependent energy-density wave-packets close to as well as far from equilibrium using the time-dependent density renormalization group. The main results are ballistic energy dynamics independently of how far out-of-equilibrium the initial state is and a detailed understanding of the average expansion velocity. The applications in the field of ultra-cold atomic gases focus on the sudden expansion of an initially trapped gas into an empty optical lattice. This setup was recently realized in an experiment performed by U. Schneider {\it et al.} and discussed in the context of electronic transport in the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional Fermi-Hubbard model. Here we investigate the sudden expansion of three different setups: For the expansion of a spin-balanced cloud of fermions, we identify the ballistic regime, and therein investigate the average expansion velocity of the cloud. As a main result the expansion velocity is determined by a small subset of the initial condition over a wide range of parameters. For instance, the Mott-insulating phase of the Hubbard model is characterized by a constant expansion velocity independently of the strength of the interaction. In the case of spinless bosons, we study the expansion from initial states that have a fixed particle number per lattice site and a certain concentration of defects. We study the expansion velocity as a function of interaction strength and investigate whether the time-dependent momentum distribution functions indicate a dynamical quasi-condensation. The last example is the sudden expansion of a spin-polarized gas of fermions in the presence of attractive interactions. This study is motivated by current effort to experimentally detect the Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov state. Our results for the time-dependent momentum distribution functions and the wave-function of the pair condensate suggest that the signatures of the FFLO state vanish quickly, yet a stationary form of the momentum distribution also emerges fast. The latter is shown to be determined by the initial conditions, which might eventually allow for an indirect detection of the FFLO phase.