Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1307.8078 (Igor Lesanovsky et al.)

Kinetic constraints, hierarchical relaxation and onset of glassiness in
strongly interacting and dissipative Rydberg gases

Igor Lesanovsky, Juan P. Garrahan
We show that the dynamics of a laser driven Rydberg gas in the limit of strong dephasing is described by a master equation with manifest kinetic constraints. The equilibrium state of the system is uncorrelated but the constraints in the dynamics lead to spatially correlated collective relaxation reminiscent of glasses. We study and quantify the evolution towards equilibrium in one and two dimensions, and analyze how the degree of glassiness and the relaxation time are controlled by the interaction strength between Rydberg atoms. We also find that spontaneous decay of Rydberg excitations leads to an interruption of glassy relaxation that takes the system to a highly correlated non-equilibrium stationary state. The results presented here, which are in principle also applicable other systems such as polar molecules and atoms with large magnetic dipole moments, show that the collective behavior of cold atomic and molecular ensembles can be similar to that found in soft condensed-matter systems.
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