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Welcome to the official GO FAST press desk

In this page you will find the publication related to the Project, as well as the articles and the press releases.

To get in contact with us please write to the press desk office.

To get in contact with us please write to the press desk office.

GO FAST Publishable Summary

Electronic transport and dynamics in correlated heterostructures

15/05/2015

Phys. Rev. B. - Go to the journal web site

We investigate by means of the time-dependent Gutzwiller approximation the transport properties of a strongly correlated slab subject to Hubbard repulsion and connected with to two metallic leads kept at a different electrochemical potential. We focus on the real-time evolution of the electronic properties after the slab is connected to the leads and consider both metallic and Mott insulating slabs. When the correlated slab is metallic, the system relaxes to a steady state that sustains a finite current. The zero-bias conductance is finite and independent of the degree of correlations within the slab as long as the system remains metallic. On the other hand, when the slab is in a Mott insulating state, the external bias leads to currents that are exponentially activated by charge tunneling across the Mott-Hubbard gap, consistent with the Landau-Zener dielectric breakdown scenario.

GO FAST Press release

12/04/2015

The GO FAST project, launched the 1st April 2012, officially ended the 31st March 2015. The results were presented in Brussels the 10-11 March 2015, at the EC premises in occasion of the Cluster Review of three femtodynamics projects GO FAST, CRONOS and FEMTOSPIN, funded under the NMP.2011.2.1-2 topic Modelling of ultrafast dynamics in materials.

The GO FAST project was funded with 1,673,200.00 Euro granted by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme.

The GO FAST project was funded with 1,673,200.00 Euro granted by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme.

Snapshots of the retarded interaction of charge carriers with ultrafast fluctuations in cuprates

09/03/2015

Nature Physics - Go to the journal web site

One of the pivotal questions in the physics of high-temperature superconductors is whether the low-energy dynamics of the charge carriers is mediated by bosons with a characteristic timescale. This issue has remained elusive as electronic correlations are expected to greatly accelerate the electron–boson scattering processes, confining them to the very femtosecond timescale that is hard to access even with state-of-the-art ultrafast techniques. Here we simultaneously push the time resolution and frequency range of transient reflectivity measurements up to an unprecedented level, enabling us to directly observe the ~16 fs build-up of the effective electron–boson interaction in hole-doped copper oxides. This extremely fast timescale is in agreement with numerical calculations based on the t–J model and the repulsive Hubbard model, in which the relaxation of the photo-excited charges is achieved via inelastic scattering with short-range antiferromagnetic excitations.

Non-equilibrium gap-collapse near a first-order Mott transition

02/03/2015

Phys. Rev. B - Go to the journal web site

We study the non-equilibrium dynamics of a simple model for V2O3 that consists of a quarter-filled Hubbard model for two orbitals that are split by a weak crystal field. Peculiarities of this model are: (1) a Mott insulator whose gap corresponds to transferring an electron from the occupied lower orbital to the empty upper one, rather than from the lower to the upper Hubbard sub-bands; (2) a Mott transition generically of first order even at zero temperature. We simulate by means of time-dependent Gutzwiller approximation the evolution within the insulating phase of an initial state endowed by a non-equilibrium population of electrons in the upper orbital and holes in the lower one. We find that the excess population may lead, above a threshold, to a gap-collapse and drive the insulator into the metastable metallic phase within the coexistence region around the Mott transition. This result foresees a non-thermal pathway to revert a Mott insulator into a metal. Even though this physical scenario is uncovered in a very specific toy-model, we argue it might apply to other Mott insulating materials that share similar features.

Ultrafast optical spectroscopy of strongly-correlated materials and high-temperature superconductors: a non-equilibrium approach

02/03/2015

Advances in Physics

Invited review in Advances in Physics

Terahertz emission spectroscopy of laser-induced spin dynamics in TmFeO3 and ErFeO3 orthoferrites

05/11/2014

Physical Review B - Go to the journal web site

Using the examples of laser-induced spin-reorientation phase transitions in TmFeO3 and ErFeO3 orthoferrites, we demonstrate that terahertz emission spectroscopy can obtain novel information about ultrafast laser-induced spin dynamics, which is not accessible by more common all-optical methods. The power of the method is evidenced by the fact that, in addition to the expected quasi-ferromagnetic and quasi-antiferromagnetic modes of the iron sublattices, terahertz emission spectroscopy enables detection of a resonance optically excited at an unexpected frequency of ∼0.3–0.35 THz. By recording how the amplitude and phase of the excited oscillations depend on temperature and applied magnetic field, we show that the unexpected mode has all the features of a spin resonance of the Fe3+ ions. We suggest that it can be assigned to transitions between the multiplet sublevels of the 6A1 ground state of the Fe+3 ions occupying rare-earth positions.

Absence of thermalization in a Fermi liquid

28/10/2014

Physical Review B - Go to the journal web site

We study a weak interaction quench in a three-dimensional Fermi gas. We first show that, under some general assumptions on time-dependent perturbation theory, the perturbative expansion of the long-wavelength structure factor S(q) is not compatible with the hypothesis that steady-state averages correspond to thermal ones. In particular, S(q) does develop an analytical component ∼const+O(q2) at q→0, as implied by thermalization, but, in contrast, it maintains a nonanalytic part ∼|q| characteristic of a Fermi liquid at zero-temperature. In real space, this nonanalyticity corresponds to persisting power-law decaying density-density correlations, whereas thermalization would predict only an exponential decay. We next consider the case of a dilute gas, where one can obtain nonperturbative results in the interaction strength but at lowest order in the density. We find that in the steady state the momentum distribution jump at the Fermi surface remains finite, though smaller than in equilibrium, up to second order in kFf0, where f0 is the scattering length of two particles in the vacuum. Both results question the emergence of a finite length scale in the quench dynamics as expected by thermalization.

Witnessing the formation and relaxation of massive quasi-particles in a strongly correlated electron system

06/10/2014

Nature Communications 5 - Go to the journal web site

The non-equilibrium semiconductors physics is based on the paradigm that different degrees of freedom interact on different timescales. In this context the photo-excitation is often treated as an impulsive injection of electronic energy that is transferred to other degrees of freedom only at later times. Here, by studying the ultrafast particles dynamics in a archetypal strongly correlated charge-transfer insulator (La2CuO4), we show that the interaction between electrons and bosons manifest itself directly in the photo-excitation processes of a correlated material. With the aid of a general theoretical framework (Hubbard Holstein Hamiltonian), we reveal that sub-gap excitation pilots the formation of itinerant quasi-particles which are suddently dressed (<100 fs) by an ultrafast reaction of the bosonic field.

Gutzwiller electronic structure calculations applied to transition metals: Kinetic energy gain with ferromagnetic order in bcc Fe

02/09/2014

Physical Review B - Go to the journal web site

The Gutzwiller projector technique has long been known as a method to include correlations in electronic structure calculations. We describe a model implementation for a Gutzwiller+LDA calculation in a localized-orbital restricted basis framework, emphasizing the protocol step by step and illustrating our specific procedure for this and future applications. We demonstrate the method with a classic problem, the ferromagnetism of bulk bcc Fe, whose nature is attracting fresh interest. In the conventional Stoner-Wohlfarth model, and in spin-polarized LDA calculations, the ferromagnetic ordering of iron sets in so that the electrons can reduce their mutual Coulomb repulsion, at the cost of some increase of electron kinetic energy. This balance may, however, be altered by correlations, which are strong for localized d orbitals. The present localized basis Gutzwiller+LDA calculation demonstrates how the ferromagnetic ordering of Fe may, in fact, entrain a decrease of kinetic energy at the cost of some increase of potential energy. This happens because, as foreshadowed long ago by Goodenough and others and more recently supported by LDA-DMFT calculations, correlations cause eg and t2g d orbitals to behave differently, with the weakly propagating eg states fully spin polarized and almost localized, and only t2g states forming a broad partly filled itinerant band. Owing to an intra-atomic Hund's rule exchange that aligns eg and t2g spins, the propagation of itinerant t2g holes is favored when different atomic spins are ferromagnetically aligned. This suggests a strong analogy with double exchange in iron ferromagnetism.

Nonadiabatic stationary behavior in a driven low dimensional gapped system

29/07/2014

Phys. Rev. B 90 - Go to the journal web site

We discuss the emergence of nonadiabatic behavior in the dynamics of the order parameter in a low-dimensional quantum many-body system subject to a linear ramp of one of its parameters. While performing a ramp within a gapped phase seems to be the most favorable situation for adiabaticity, we show that such a change leads eventually to the disruption of the order, no matter how slowly the ramp is performed. We show this in detail by studying the dynamics of the one-dimensional quantum Ising model subject to linear variation of the transverse magnetic field within the ferromagnetic phase, and then propose a general argument applicable to other systems.

Multi-colour pulses from seeded free-electron-lasers: towards the development of non-linear core-level coherent spectroscopies

21/07/2014

Faraday Discuss. - Go to the journal web site

We report on new opportunities for ultrafast science thanks to the use of two-colour extreme ultraviolet (XUV) pulses at the FERMI free electron laser (FEL) facility. The two pulses have been employed to carry out a pioneering FEL-pump/FEL-probe diffraction experiment using a Ti target and tuning the FEL pulses to the M2/3-edge in order to explore the dependence of the dielectric constant on the excitation fluence. The future impact that the use of such a two-colour FEL emission will have on the development of ultrafast wave-mixing methods in the XUV/soft X-ray range is addressed and discussed.

Photo-enhanced antinodal conductivity in the pseudogap state of high Tc cuprates

11/07/2014

Nature Communications 5 - Go to the journal web site

A major challenge in understanding the cuprate superconductors is to clarify the nature of the fundamental electronic correlations that lead to the pseudogap phenomenon. Here we use ultrashort light pulses to prepare a non-thermal distribution of excitations and capture novel properties that are hidden at equilibrium. Using a broadband (0.5-2 eV) probe we are able to track the dynamics of the dielectric function, unveiling an anomalous decrease of the scattering rate of the charge carriers in a pseudogap-like region of the temperature (T) and hole-doping (p) phase diagram. In this region, delimited by a well-defined T∗neq(p) line, the photo-excitation process triggers the evolution of antinodal excitations from gapped (localized) to delocalized quasi-particles characterized by a longer lifetime. The novel concept of photo-enhanced antinodal conductivity is naturally explained within the single-band Hubbard model, in which the short-range Coulomb repulsion leads to a k-space differentiation between "nodal" quasiparticles and antinodal excitations.

Reflectivity enhancement in titanium by ultrafast XUV irradiation

13/05/2014

Scientific Reports 4 - Go to the journal web site

The study of highly photo-excited matter at solid state density is an emerging field of research, which is benefitting the development of free-electron-laser (FEL) technology. We report an extreme ultraviolet (XUV) reflectivity experiment from a titanium (Ti) sample irradiated with ultrafast seeded FEL pulses at variable incident photon fluence and frequency. Using a Drude formalism we relate the observed increase in reflectivity as a function of the excitation fluence to an increase in the plasma frequency, which allows us to estimate the free electron density in the excited sample. The extreme simplicity of the experimental setup makes the present approach potentially a valuable complementary tool to determine the average ionization state of the excited sample, information of primary relevance for understanding the physics of matter under extreme conditions.

Pulsed homodyne Gaussian quantum tomography with low detection efficiency

06/04/2014

New Journal of Physics 16 - Go to the journal web site

Pulsed homodyne quantum tomography usually requires a high detection efficiency limiting its applicability in quantum optics. Here, it is shown that the presence of low detection efficiency (<50%) does not prevent the tomographic reconstruction of quantum states of light, specifically, of Gaussian type. This result is obtained by applying the so-called "minimax" adaptive reconstruction of the Wigner function to pulsed homodyne detection. In particular, we prove, by both numerical and real experiments, that an effective discrimination of different Gaussian quantum states can be achieved. Our finding paves the way to a more extensive use of quantum tomographic methods, even in physical situations in which high detection efficiency is unattainable.

Photoinduced changes in the cuprate electronic structure revealed by femtosecond time- and angle-resolved photoemission

12/03/2014

Phys. Rev. B 89 - Go to the journal web site

The dressing of quasiparticles in solids is investigated by changes in the electronic structure E(k) driven by femtosecond laser pulses. Employing time- and angle-resolved photoemission on an optimally doped cuprate above Tc, we observe two effects with different characteristic temporal evolutions and, therefore, different microscopic origins. First, a marked change in the effective mass due to the 70-meV kink in E(k) is found to occur during the experiment's 100-fs temporal resolution and is assigned to laser-driven perturbation of an electronic interaction dressing the bare band. Second, a change in kF is explained by effective photodoping due to particle-hole asymmetry and offers opportunities for ultrafast optoelectronic switches based on an optically driven insulator-superconductor transition.

Tuning a Schottky barrier in a photoexcited topological insulator with transient Dirac cone electron-hole asymmetry

05/01/2014

Nature Communications, 5 - Go to the journal web site

The advent of Dirac materials has made it possible to realize two-dimensional gases of relativistic fermions with unprecedented transport properties in condensed matter. Their photoconductive control with ultrafast light pulses is opening new perspectives for the transmission of current and information. Here we show that the interplay of surface and bulk transient carrier dynamics in a photoexcited topological insulator can control an essential parameter for photoconductivity—the balance between excess electrons and holes in the Dirac cone. This can result in a strongly out of equilibrium gas of hot relativistic fermions, characterized by a surprisingly long lifetime of more than 50 ps, and a simultaneous transient shift of chemical potential by as much as 100 meV. The unique properties of this transient Dirac cone make it possible to tune with ultrafast light pulses a relativistic nanoscale Schottky barrier, in a way that is impossible with conventional optoelectronic materials.

Non-equilibrium dynamics in the antiferromagnetic Hubbard model

07/10/2013

Phys. Rev. B 88 - Go to the journal web site

We investigate by means of the time-dependent Gutzwiller approximation the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of an antiferromagnetic state evolved with the Hubbard model Hamiltonian after a sudden change of the repulsion strength U. We find that magnetic order survives more than what expected on the basis of thermalization arguments, in agreement with recent DMFT calculations. In addition, we find evidence of a dynamical transition for quenches to large values of U between a coherent antiferromagnet characterized by a finite quasiparticle residue to an incoherent one with vanishing residue, that finally turns into a paramagnet for even larger U.

Direct observation of electron thermalization and electron-phonon coupling in photoexcited bismuth

11/08/2013

Physical Review B 88 - Go to the journal web site

We investigate the ultrafast response of the bismuth (111) surface by means of time-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. The direct visualization of the electronic structure allows us to gain insights on electron-electron and electron-phonon interaction. Concerning electron-electron interaction, it is found that electron thermalization is fluence dependent and can take as much as several hundreds of femtoseconds at low fluences. This behavior is in qualitative agreement with Landau's theory of Fermi liquids, but the data show deviations from the behavior of a common three-dimensional degenerate electron gas. Concerning electron-phonon interaction, our data allows us to directly observe the coupling of Bloch states to the coherent A1g mode. It is found that surface states are much less coupled to this mode when compared to bulk states. This is confirmed by ab initio calculations of surface and bulk bismuth.

Speed limit of the insulator–metal transition

27/07/2013

Nature Materials - Go to the journal web site

As the oldest known magnetic material, magnetite (Fe3O4) has fascinated mankind for millennia. As the first oxide in which a relationship between electrical conductivity and fluctuating/localized electronic order was shown1, magnetite represents a model system for understanding correlated oxides in general. Nevertheless, the exact mechanism of the insulator–metal, or Verwey, transition has long remained inaccessible2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Recently, three-Fe-site lattice distortions called trimerons were identified as the characteristic building blocks of the low-temperature insulating electronically ordered phase9. Here we investigate the Verwey transition with pump–probe X-ray diffraction and optical reflectivity techniques, and show how trimerons become mobile across the insulator–metal transition. We find this to be a two-step process. After an initial 300 fs destruction of individual trimerons, phase separation occurs on a 1.5±0.2 ps timescale to yield residual insulating and metallic regions. This work establishes the speed limit for switching in future oxide electronics10.

Extended dynamic Mott-transition in the two-band Hubbard model out of equilibrium

14/07/2013

Phys. Rev. B 88 - Go to the journal web site

We reformulate the time-dependent Gutzwiller approximation by M. Schir'o and M. Fabrizio [Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 076401 (2010)] in the framework of slave-boson mean-field theory, which is used to investigate the dynamical Mott transition of the generic two-band Hubbard model at half filling upon an interaction quench. Interorbital fluctuations lead to notable changes with respect to the single-band case. The singular dynamical transition is replaced by a broad regime of long-lived fluctuations between metallic and insulating states, accompanied by intriguing precursor behavior. A mapping to a spin model proves helpful to analyze the different regions in terms of the evolution of an Ising-like order parameter. Contrary to the static case, singlet occupations remain vital in the Mott-insulating regime with finite Hund's exchange.

In search for the pairing glue in cuprates by non-equilibrium optical spectroscopy

11/03/2013

Journal of Physics - Go to the journal web site

In strongly correlated materials the electronic and optical properties are significantly affected by the coupling of fermionic quasiparticles to different degrees of freedom, such as lattice vibrations and bosonic excitations of electronic origin. Broadband ultrafast spectroscopy is emerging as the premier technique to unravel the subtle interplay between quasiparticles and electronic or phononic collective excitations, by their different characteristic timescales and spectral responses. By investigating the femtosecond dynamics of the optical properties of Y-Bi2212 crystals over the 0.5-2 eV energy range, we disentangle the electronic and phononic contributions to the generalized electron-boson Eliashberg function, showing that the spectral distribution of the electronic excitations, such as spin fluctuations and current loops, and the strength of their interaction with quasiparticles can account for the high critical temperature of the superconducting phase transition. Finally, we discuss how the use of this technique can be extended to the underdoped region of the phase diagram of cuprates, in which a pseudogap in the quasiparticle density of states opens. The microscopic modeling of the interaction of ultrashort light pulses with unconventional superconductors will be one of the key challenges of the next-years materials science, eventually leading to the full understanding of the role of the electronic correlations in controlling the dynamics on the femtosecond timescale.

Competition between the Pseudogap and Superconducting States of Bi2Sr2Ca0.92Y0.08Cu2O8+∂ Single Crystals Revealed by Ultrafast Broadband Optical Reflectivity

05/03/2013

Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 107003 (2013) - Go to the journal web site

Ultrafast broadband transient reflectivity experiments are performed to study the interplay between the nonequilibrium dynamics of the pseudogap and the superconducting phases in Bi2Sr2Ca0.92Y0.08Cu2O8+δ. Once superconductivity is established, the relaxation of the pseudogap proceeds ∼2 times faster than in the normal state, and the corresponding transient reflectivity variation changes sign after ∼0.5 ps. The results can be described by a set of coupled differential equations for the pseudogap and for the superconducting order parameter. The sign and strength of the coupling term suggest a remarkably weak competition between the two phases, allowing their coexistence.

Finite-temperature Gutzwiller approximation and the phase diagram of a toy-model for V2O3

19/02/2013

Phys. Rev. B 87 - Go to the journal web site

We exploit exact inequalities that refer to the entropy of a distribution to derive a simple variational principle at finite temperature for trial density matrices of Gutzwiller and Jastrow type. We use the result to extend at finite temperature the Gutzwiller approximation, which we apply to study a two-orbital model that we believe captures some essential features of V2O3. We indeed find that the phase diagram of the model bears many similarities to that of real vanadium sesquioxide. In addition, we show that in a Bethe lattice, where the finite temperature Gutzwiller approximation provides a rigorous upper bound of the actual free energy, the results compare well with the exact phase diagram obtained by the dynamical mean field theory.

Mixed regime of light-matter interaction revealed by phase sensitive measurements of the dynamical Franz-Keldysh effect

05/02/2013

Scientific Reports 3 - Go to the journal web site

Significant changes of the optical properties of semiconductors can be observed by applying strong electric fields capable to modify the band structure at equilibrium. This is known as the Franz-Keldysh effect (FKE). Here we study the FKE in bulk GaAs by combining single cycle THz pumps and broadband optical probes. The experiments show that the phase content of the selected electromagnetic pulses can be used to measure the timescales characteristic for the different regimes of matter-light interactions. Furthermore, the present phase-resolved measurements allow to identify a novel regime of saturation where memory effects are of relevance.

Relaxation and thermalization after a quantum quench: Why localization is important

03/02/2013

Phys. Rev. B 87 - Go to the journal web site

We study the unitary dynamics and the thermalization properties of free-fermion-like Hamiltonians after a sudden quantum quench, extending the results of S. Ziraldo et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 247205 (2012)]. With analytical and numerical arguments, we show that the existence of a stationary state and its description with a generalized Gibbs ensemble (GGE) depend crucially on the observable considered (local versus extensive) and on the localization properties of the final Hamiltonian. We present results on two one-dimensional (1D) models, the disordered 1D fermionic chain with long-range hopping and the disordered Ising/XY spin chain. We analytically prove that, while time averages of one-body operators are perfectly reproduced by GGE (even for finite-size systems, if time integrals are extended beyond revivals), time averages of many-body operators might show clear deviations from the GGE prediction when disorder-induced localization of the eigenstates is at play.

Periodic steady state regime and interference in a periodically driven quantum system

16/12/2012

Phys. Rev. Lett. 109 - Go to the journal web site

We study the coherent dynamics of a quantum many-body system subject to a time-periodic driving. We argue that in many cases, destructive interference in time makes most of the quantum averages time periodic, after an initial transient. We discuss in detail the case of a quantum Ising chain periodically driven across the critical point, finding that, as a result of quantum coherence, the system never reaches an infinite temperature state. Floquet resonance effects are moreover observed in the frequency dependence of the various observables, which display a sequence of well-defined peaks or dips. Extensions to nonintegrable systems are discussed

Lattice and surface effects in the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of the Hubbard model

09/05/2012

Phys. Rev. B 85 - Go to the journal web site

We study, by means of the time-dependent Gutzwiller approximation, the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of a half-filled Hubbard-Holstein model of correlated electrons interacting with local phonons. Inspired by pump-probe experiments, where intense light pulses selectively induce optical excitations that trigger a transient out-of-equilibrium dynamics, here we inject energy in the Hubbard bands by a nonequilibrium population of empty and doubly-occupied sites. We first consider the case of a global perturbation, acting over the whole sample, and find evidence of a mean-field dynamical transition where the lattice gets strongly distorted above a certain energy threshold, despite the weak strength of the electron-phonon coupling by comparison with the Hubbard repulsion. Next, we address a slab geometry for a correlated heterostructure and study the relaxation dynamics across the system when the perturbation acts locally on the first layer. While for weak deviations from equilibrium the excited surface is able to relax by transferring its excess energy to the bulk, for large deviations, the excess energy stays instead concentrated in the surface layer. This self-trapping occurs both in the absence as well as in the presence of electron-phonon coupling. Phonons actually enforce the trapping by distorting at the surface.

Dynamical quantum phase transitions and broken-symmetry edges in the many-body eigenvalue spectrum

29/11/2012

Phys. Rev. B 86 - Go to the journal web site

Many-body models undergoing a quantum phase transition to a broken-symmetry phase that survives up to a critical temperature must possess, in the ordered phase, symmetric as well as nonsymmetric eigenstates. We predict, and explicitly show in the fully connected Ising model in a transverse field, that these two classes of eigenstates do not overlap in energy, and therefore that an energy edge exists separating low-energy symmetry-breaking eigenstates from high-energy symmetry-invariant ones. This energy is actually responsible, as we show, for the dynamical phase transition displayed by this model under a sudden large increase of the transverse field. A second situation we consider is the opposite, where the symmetry-breaking eigenstates are those in the high-energy sector of the spectrum, whereas the low-energy eigenstates are symmetric. In that case too a special energy must exist marking the boundary and leading to unexpected out-of-equilibrium dynamical behavior. An example is the fermonic repulsive Hubbard model Hamiltonian H. Exploiting the trivial fact that the high-energy spectrum of H is also the low-energy one of −H, we conclude that the high-energy eigenstates of the Hubbard model are superfluid. Simulating in a time-dependent Gutzwiller approximation the time evolution of a high-energy BCS-like trial wave function, we show that a small superconducting order parameter will actually grow in spite of the repulsive nature of the interaction.

The Out-of-Equilibrium Time-Dependent Gutzwiller Approximation

20/08/2012

NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics - Go to the journal web site

We review the recently proposed extension of the Gutzwiller approximation (Schirò and Fabrizio, Phys Rev Lett 105:076401, 2010), designed to describe the out-of-equilibrium time-evolution of a Gutzwiller-type variational wave function for correlated electrons. The method, which is strictly variational in the limit of infinite lattice-coordination, is quite general and flexible, and it is applicable to generic non-equilibrium conditions, even far beyond the linear response regime. As an application, we discuss the quench dynamics of a single-band Hubbard model at half-filling, where the method predicts a dynamical phase transition above a critical quench that resembles the sharp crossover observed by time-dependent dynamical mean field theory. We next show that one can actually define in some cases a multi-configurational wave function combination of a whole set of mutually orthogonal Gutzwiller wave functions. The Hamiltonian projected in that subspace can be exactly evaluated and is equivalent to a model of auxiliary spins coupled to non-interacting electrons, closely related to the slave-spin theories for correlated electron models. The Gutzwiller approximation turns out to be nothing but the mean-field approximation applied to that spin-fermion model, which displays, for any number of bands and integer fillings, a spontaneous Z 2 symmetry breaking that can be identified as the Mott insulator-to-metal transition.

Linear ramps of interaction in the fermionic Hubbard model

14/08/2012

Phys. Rev. B 86 - Go to the journal web site

We study the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of the fermionic Hubbard model induced by a linear ramp of the repulsive interaction U from the metallic state through the Mott transition. To this extent, we use a time-dependent Gutzwiller variational method and complement this analysis with the inclusion of quantum fluctuations at the leading order, in the framework of a Z2 slave-spin theory. We discuss the dynamics during the ramp and the issue of adiabaticity through the scaling of the excitation energy with the ramp duration τ. In addition, we study the dynamics for time scales longer than the ramp time, when the system is again isolated and the total energy conserved. We establish the existence of a dynamical phase transition analogous to the one present in the sudden quench case and discuss its properties as a function of final interaction and ramp duration. Finally, we discuss the role of quantum fluctuations on the mean-field dynamics for both long ramps, where spin-wave theory is sufficient, and for very short ramps, where a self-consistent treatment of quantum fluctuations is required in order to obtain relaxation.

Ultrafast optical spectroscopy of the lowest energy excitations in the Mott insulator compound YVO3: Evidence for Hubbard-type excitons

30/10/2012

Physical Review - Go to the journal web site

Revealing the nature of charge excitations in strongly correlated electron systems is crucial to understanding their exotic properties. Here we use broadband ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy in the visible range to study low-energy transitions across the Mott-Hubbard gap in the orbitally ordered insulator YVO3. Separating thermal and nonthermal contributions to the optical transients, we show that the total spectral weight of the two lowest peaks is conserved, demonstrating that both excitations correspond to the same multiplet. The pump-induced transfer of spectral weight between the two peaks reveals that the low-energy one is a Hubbard exciton, i.e., a resonance or a nearly bound state between a doublon and a holon. Finally, we speculate that the pump-driven spin disorder can be used to quantify the kinetic energy gain of the excitons in a ferromagnetic environment.

Relaxation Dynamics of Disordered Spin Chains: Localization and the Existence of a Stationary State

19/12/2012

Phys. Rev. Lett. 109 - Go to the journal web site

We study the unitary relaxation dynamics of disordered spin chains following a sudden quench of the Hamiltonian. We give analytical arguments, corroborated by specific numerical examples, to show that the existence of a stationary state depends crucially on the spectral and localization properties of the final Hamiltonian, and not on the initial state. We test these ideas on integrable one-dimensional models of the Ising or XY class, but argue more generally on their validity for more complex (nonintegrable) models.

GO FAST Press release year 1

Loschmidt echo and dynamical fidelity in periodically driven quantum systems

17/06/2014

EPL letters

Shraddha Sharma, Angelo Russomanno, Giuseppe E. Santoro and Amit Dutta