Kibble-Zurek exponent and chiral transition of the period-4 phase of Rydberg chains

Natalia Chepiga*, Frédéric Mila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Chains of Rydberg atoms have emerged as an amazing playground to study quantum physics in 1D. Playing with inter-atomic distances and laser detuning, one can in particular explore the commensurate-incommensurate transition out of density waves through the Kibble-Zurek mechanism, and the possible presence of a chiral transition with dynamical exponent z > 1. Here, we address this problem theoretically with effective blockade models where the short-distance repulsions are replaced by a constraint of no double occupancy. For the period-4 phase, we show that there is an Ashkin-Teller transition point with exponent ν = 0.78 surrounded by a direct chiral transition with a dynamical exponent z = 1.11 and a Kibble-Zurek exponent μ = 0.41. For Rydberg atoms with a van der Waals potential, we suggest that the experimental value μ = 0.25 is due to a chiral transition with z ≃ 1.9 and ν ≃ 0.47 surrounding an Ashkin-Teller transition close to the 4-state Potts universality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number414
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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