Spin Transport in a Mott Insulator of Ultracold Fermions

Matthew A. Nichols, Lawrence W. Cheuk, Melih Okan, Thomas R. Hartke, Enrique Mendez, T. Senthil, Ehsan Khatami, Hao Zhang, Martin W. Zwierlein
Science, First Release 06 Dec 2018

MIT News Article by Helen Knight

arXiv:1802.10018 (2018)

Strongly correlated materials are expected to feature unconventional transport properties, where charge, spin, and heat conduction are potentially independent probes of the dynamics. In contrast to charge transport, the measurement of spin transport in such materials is highly challenging. Here we observe spin conduction and diffusion in a system of ultracold fermionic atoms that realizes the half-filled Fermi-Hubbard model. For strong interactions, spin diffusion is driven by super-exchange and doublon-hole-assisted tunneling, and strongly violates the quantum limit of charge diffusion. The technique developed in this work can be extended to finite doping, which can shed light on the complex interplay between spin and charge in the Hubbard model.