Observation of the algebraic localization-delocalization transition in a 1D disordered potential with a bias force

Abstract : In a one-dimensional (1D) disordered potential, quantum interferences leading to Anderson lo-calization are ubiquitous, such that all wave-functions are exponentially localized. Moreover, no phase transition toward delocalization is expected in 1D. This behavior is strongly modified in the presence of a bias force. We experimentally study this case, launching a non-interacting 39 K Bose-Einstein condensate in a 1D disordered potential induced by a far-off-resonance laser speckle, while controlling a bias force. In agreement with theoretical predictions, we observe a transition between algebraic localization and delocalization as a function of our control parameter that is the relative strength of the disorder against the bias force. We also demonstrate that the initial velocity of the wave-packet only plays a role through an effective disorder strength due to the correlation of the disorder. Adding a bias force is a quite natural way to probe the transport properties of quantum systems, a subject of broad interest that can be in particular addressed with atomic quantum gases thanks to their high degree of control and versatility [1]. For example, Bloch oscillations has been measured through the addition of a constant force to atoms in periodic potential induced by an optical lattice [2]. A force applied to a harmonic trap is equivalent to a trap displacement. The response to such a displacement permits to reveal the fluid or insulating behavior of atomic systems. In 1D interacting Bose gases, the pinning transition by an optical lattice [3] or the insulating transition in quasi-disordered optical lattice [4, 5] have been studied in this manner. More recently, transport in quantum gases is also studied in junction-type setup more analogous to condensed-matter systems: two reservoirs with different chemical potentials are connected through a constriction. For example, in a gas of fermions, the quantization of conductance through a quantum point contact [6] and the superfluid to normal transition in a disordered thin film have been observed [7]. In our work, we focus on the transport of non-interacting particles in disordered media. Without a bias force, quantum interferences between multiple paths lead to Anderson localization [8] whose signature is an exponential decay in space of single particle wave-function [9]. This phenomenon is ubiquitous in wave/quantum physics and it has been observed in many physical contexts [10] including condensed-matter [11] and ultra-cold atoms [12-14]. One-dimensional truly disordered systems are always localized [15], contrary to the 3D case where a phase transition between localized and extended single particle wave-functions takes place as a function of the disorder strength [16-18]. The localization properties of 1D disordered systems are modified in the presence of a bias force. Theoretical studies predict a transition from algebraic localization to delocalization as a function of a single control non-dimensional parameter α which is the ratio of the force to the disorder strength [19, 20]. Physically, α is the relative energy gain ∆E/E of a particle of energy E when moving over a localization length. Interestingly, in a 1D white noise disorder, this quantity is independent of E as the localization length is proportional to E. If α is small, the force does not considerably change the localization behavior of the particle while for large α its dynamics is severely affected leading to delocalization. This localization-delocalization transition is predicted in the infinite time limit for white noise disorder [20]. In a correlated disorder, as the one produced from a far-off-resonance laser speckle [21], the situation is more complicated. Speckles have no Fourier component beyond a spatial frequency 2k c. As a consequence, back-scattering and localization are not expected in the framework of Born approximation for atoms with wavevectors k > k c [12, 22]. Since localized wave-functions always have a small fraction at long distance corresponding to large energies and momenta in the presence of a bias force, we thus expect correlation-induced delocalization at infinite time. However, signatures of the algebraic localization-delocalization transition are predicted to be observable at transient times [20]. In this paper, we report on the observation of the algebraic localization-delocalization transition with cold-atoms propagating in a one dimensional disordered potential in the presence of a controlled bias force. We experimentally show that the non-dimensional parameter α is the only relevant parameter to describe the transition. We notice that the initial velocity of the quantum wave packet only plays a role through the correlation of the disordered potential, showing that the transition is in-trinsically energy independent. In the localized regime, we demonstrate an algebraic decay of the density and measure the corresponding decay exponent as a function of α. At large disorder strength, a saturation of the expo
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Submitted on : Friday, August 2, 2019 - 3:19:01 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 1:11:35 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02262460, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1908.01511

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G. Berthet, L. Lavoine, M. Parit, A. Brolis, A. Boissé, et al.. Observation of the algebraic localization-delocalization transition in a 1D disordered potential with a bias force. 2019. ⟨hal-02262460⟩

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