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  1. Understanding the thermalization dynamics of quantum many-body systems at the microscopic level is among the central challenges of modern statistical physics. Here we experimentally investigate individual spin dynamics in a two-dimensional ensemble of electron spins on the surface of a diamond crystal. We use a near-surface NV center as a nanoscale magnetic sensor to probe correlation dynamics of individual spins in a dipolar interacting surface spin ensemble. We observe that the relaxation rate for each spin is significantly slower than the naive expectation based on independently estimated dipolar interaction strengths with nearest neighbors and is strongly correlated with the timescale of the local magnetic field fluctuation. We show that this anomalously slow relaxation rate is due to the presence of strong dynamical disorder and present a quantitative explanation based on dynamic resonance counting. Finally, we use resonant spin-lock driving to control the effective strength of the local magnetic fields and reveal the role of the dynamical disorder in different regimes. Our work paves the way towards microscopic study and control of quantum thermalization in strongly interacting disordered spin ensembles.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 21, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Realizing quantum speedup for practically relevant, computationally hard problems is a central challenge in quantum information science. Using Rydberg atom arrays with up to 289 qubits in two spatial dimensions, we experimentally investigate quantum algorithms for solving the Maximum Independent Set problem. We use a hardware-efficient encoding associated with Rydberg blockade, realize closed-loop optimization to test several variational algorithms, and subsequently apply them to systematically explore a class of graphs with programmable connectivity. We find the problem hardness is controlled by the solution degeneracy and number of local minima, and experimentally benchmark the quantum algorithm’s performance against classical simulated annealing. On the hardest graphs, we observe a superlinear quantum speedup in finding exact solutions in the deep circuit regime and analyze its origins.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  5. Quantum spin liquids, exotic phases of matter with topological order, have been a major focus in physics for the past several decades. Such phases feature long-range quantum entanglement that can potentially be exploited to realize robust quantum computation. We used a 219-atom programmable quantum simulator to probe quantum spin liquid states. In our approach, arrays of atoms were placed on the links of a kagome lattice, and evolution under Rydberg blockade created frustrated quantum states with no local order. The onset of a quantum spin liquid phase of the paradigmatic toric code type was detected by using topological string operators that provide direct signatures of topological order and quantum correlations. Our observations enable the controlled experimental exploration of topological matter and protected quantum information processing.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 3, 2022