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Ultracold atoms are an ideal playground to investigate correlations in finite systems under non-equilibrium conditions, and there is presently an enormous research activity in this area. While non-equilibrium situations can easily be achieved also e.g. in nanostructures, several aspects are quite different.
Transport measurements in nanostructures typically probe the steady state regime close to equilibrium while in ultracold atoms the far from equilibrium regime can be accessed quite easily.
Due to the lower energy scales, real-time dynamics in cold gases can be measured directly. Furthermore, ultracold atoms offer a high degree of experimental control which allows to study the evolution of the many-many particle states e.g. under a fast sweep across a quantum critical point.
For example, if the quantum critical point is of second order, there is a large body of theoretical work dating back to Kibble-Zurek mechanism of galaxy formation. These predictions are now tested in experiments and the theoretical description of such sweeps is still being further developed.
Another important aspect of non-equilibrium states in ultracold atoms is the almost complete absence of dissipative coupling to the environment. Thus, after a parameter quench the system never reaches the new ground state but instead thermalizes to a state with a finite effective temperature.
The theoretical understanding of the underlying thermalization mechanism is still very incomplete. Here the experiences of different fields like nuclear physics, cluster physics, solid state physics and plasma physics are anticipated to contribute new insight.
The nonlinear dynamical evolution of many-body states composed of a large but finite number of particles is also of high interest. Solitonic matter waves as well as soliton trains have already been generated and studied, however, there are still many open questions regarding the stability and the interaction of matter waves which will be discussed at the workshop. Other time-dependent nonlinear phenomena, such as e.g. the time evolution of two coupled Bose-Einstein condensates, or the spontaneous formation of magnetic order in spinor condensates, will also be addressed.
The workshop will contribute to the understanding of correlations and non-equilibrium phenomena in ultracold atoms by bringing together theorists and experimentalists. By inviting also a small number of participants from related areas such as non-equilibrium processes in nano-structured solids, the workshop attempts to benefit from the similarities of concepts in different areas of non-equilibrium phenomena.
The workshop is aimed both at experienced researchers to exchange their ideas from different fields, and at graduate students who want to become acquainted with the field and learn about modern experimental techniques and theoretical approaches.