Dynamical formation of a magnetic polaron in a two-dimensional quantum antiferromagnet

A. Bohrdt, F. Grusdt, M. Knap

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21 Scopus citations


Tremendous recent progress in the quantum simulation of the Hubbard model paves the way to controllably study doped antiferromagnetic Mott insulators. Motivated by these experimental advancements, we numerically study the real-time dynamics of a single hole created in an antiferromagnet on a square lattice, as described by the t-J model. Initially, the hole spreads ballistically with a velocity proportional to the hopping matrix element. At intermediate to long times, the dimensionality as well as the spin background determine the hole dynamics. A hole created in the ground state of a two dimensional (2D) quantum antiferromagnet propagates again ballistically at long times but with a velocity proportional to the spin exchange coupling, showing the formation of a magnetic polaron. We provide an intuitive explanation of this dynamics in terms of a parton construction, which leads to a good quantitative agreement with the numerical tensor network state simulations. In the limit of infinite temperature and no spin exchange couplings, the dynamics can be approximated by a quantum random walk on a Bethe lattice with coordination number z = 4. Adding Ising interactions corresponds to an effective disordered potential, which can dramatically slow down the hole propagation, consistent with subdiffusive dynamics. The study of the hole dynamics paves the way for understanding the microscopic constituents of this strongly correlated quantum state.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123023
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Fermi-Hubbard
  • magnetic polaron formation
  • multi-stage dynamics
  • parton theory
  • pattern recognition
  • time-dependent DMRG


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