报告题目：Quantum Dynamics of Inflation
报 告 人：Cheng Chin，James Franck institute, Enrico Fermi institute, and Department of Physics, University of Chicago
报告摘要：Phase transitions are both ubiquitous and fascinating. Snow from the sky, a result of a phase transition, is run-of-the-mill in Chicago; however, we remain intrigued when realizing that the beautiful crystals of a snow flake, millimeter in size, grows from the molecular structure at the nano-meter scale. Beyond classical systems, an exponential growth of new symmetry across a phase transition, called inflation, reaches frontier of research on quantum many-body dynamics, as well as in the evolution of early universe.
Based on a cesium Bose-Einstein condensate driven across a quantum phase transition, we have observed in the past years a series of interesting phenomena: emergence of topological defects (domain walls), exotic excitations (rotons), as well as the scaling symmetry of temporospatial correlations (Kibble-Zurek mechanism). A fundamental question I will address in this talk is: Is inflation a symmetry-breaking process that follows the second law of thermodynamics, or a quantum coherent process that is unitary and reversible?