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Pietro Silvi, Gabriele De Chiara, Tommaso Calarco, Giovanna Morigi and Simone Montangero Full characterization of the quantum linear-zigzag transition in atomic chains Annalen der Physik 525

Article first published online: 31 JUL 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/andp.201300090

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A string of repulsively interacting particles exhibits a phase transition to a zigzag structure, by reducing the transverse trap potential or the interparticle distance. Based on the emergent symmetry ℤ2 it has been argued that this instability is a quantum phase transition, which can be mapped to an Ising model in transverse field. An extensive Density Matrix Renormalization Group analysis is performed, resulting in an high-precision evaluation of the critical exponents and of the central charge of the system, confirming that the quantum linear-zigzag transition belongs to the critical Ising model universality class. Quantum corrections to the classical phase diagram are computed, and the range of experimental parameters where quantum effects play a role is provided. These results show that structural instabilities of one-dimensional interacting atomic arrays can simulate quantum critical phenomena typical of ferromagnetic systems.

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