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Science. 2019 Jan 25;363(6425):379-382. doi: 10.1126/science.aat4134. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

Bad metallic transport in a cold atom Fermi-Hubbard system.

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Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
Département de Physique, Institut Quantique, and Regroupement Québécois sur les Matériaux de Pointe, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec J1K 2R1, Canada.
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8, Canada.
Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.


Strong interactions in many-body quantum systems complicate the interpretation of charge transport in such materials. To shed light on this problem, we study transport in a clean quantum system: ultracold lithium-6 in a two-dimensional optical lattice, a testing ground for strong interaction physics in the Fermi-Hubbard model. We determine the diffusion constant by measuring the relaxation of an imposed density modulation and modeling its decay hydrodynamically. The diffusion constant is converted to a resistivity by using the Nernst-Einstein relation. That resistivity exhibits a linear temperature dependence and shows no evidence of saturation, two characteristic signatures of a bad metal. The techniques we developed in this study may be applied to measurements of other transport quantities, including the optical conductivity and thermopower.

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