Quantum Simulation of Many-Body Spin Systems Using Many Trapped Ions
Quantum simulation of many-body systems offers the promise of describing physical behavior that is difficult to access via classical computation or traditional condensed-matter experiments. Our platform of up to 18 coupled Yb-171+ ions is well-suited for investigations of fully-connected Ising models with transverse and longitudinal fields. The Ising interactions are generated via phonon-mediated spin-dependent optical dipole forces, with the form and range of such interactions controlled by manipulation of laser frequencies and trap voltages. I will describe two recent experiments that exploit the long-range couplings in our system: one in which we vary the amount of frustration by tuning the range of interactions, and another in which long-range interactions allow for the creation and observation of new spin phases at zero temperature. We are currently pursuing studies of dynamics in this system, exploring topics including spectroscopy of the Hamiltonian, Kibble-Zurek-like behavior during non-equilibrium phase transitions, and thermalization in a closed quantum system. We are optimistic about the prospects for scaling to 30+ ions, where calculations become classically intractable.