Structural Defects in Ion Chains by Quenching the External Potential: The Inhomogeneous KibbleZurek Mechanism
Abstract
The nonequilibrium dynamics of an ion chain in a highly anisotropic trap is studied when the transverse trap frequency is quenched across the value at which the chain undergoes a continuous phase transition from a linear to a zigzag structure. Within Landau theory, an equation for the order parameter, corresponding to the transverse size of the zigzag structure, is determined when the vibrational motion is damped via laser cooling. The number of structural defects produced during a linear quench of the transverse trapping frequency is predicted and verified numerically. It is shown to obey the scaling predicted by the KibbleZurek mechanism, when extended to take into account the spatial inhomogeneities of the ion chain in a linear Paul trap.
 Publication:

Physical Review Letters
 Pub Date:
 August 2010
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.075701
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1002.2524
 Bibcode:
 2010PhRvL.105g5701D
 Keywords:

 64.60.Ht;
 05.70.Fh;
 37.10.Ty;
 Dynamic critical phenomena;
 Phase transitions: general studies;
 Ion trapping;
 Quantum Physics;
 Condensed Matter  Statistical Mechanics
 EPrint:
 5 pages, 3 figures