Physical Review Letters

“Nonequilibrium Hole Dynamics in Antiferromagnets: Damped Strings and Polarons”

9. Dezember 2022

We develop a nonperturbative theory for hole dynamics in antiferromagnetic spin lattices, as described by the t−J model. This is achieved by generalizing the self-consistent Born approximation to nonequilibrium systems, making it possible to calculate the full time-dependent many-body wave function. Our approach reveals three distinct dynamical regimes, ultimately leading to the formation of magnetic polarons. Following the initial ballistic stage of the hole dynamics, coherent formation of string excitations gives rise to characteristic oscillations in the hole density. Their damping eventually leaves behind magnetic polarons that undergo ballistic motion with a greatly reduced velocity. The developed theory provides a rigorous framework for understanding nonequilibrium physics of defects in quantum magnets and quantitatively explains recent observations from cold-atom quantum simulations in the strong coupling regime.

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