Quantum unitary evolution typically leads to thermalization of generic interacting many-body systems. There are very few known general methods for reversing this process, and we focus on the magic echo, a radio-frequency pulse sequence known to approximately "rewind" the time evolution of dipolar coupled homonuclear spin systems in a large magnetic field. By combining analytic, numerical, and experimental results, we systematically investigate factors leading to the degradation of magic echoes, as observed in reduced revival of mean transverse magnetization. Going beyond the conventional analysis based on mean magnetization, we use a phase-encoding technique to measure the growth of spin correlations in the density matrix at different points in time following magic echoes of varied durations and compare the results to those obtained during a free induction decay. While considerable differences are documented at short times, the long-time behavior of the density matrix appears to be remarkably universal among the types of initial states considered: simple low-order multispin correlations are observed to decay exponentially at the same rate, seeding the onset of increasingly complex high-order correlations. This manifestly athermal process is constrained by conservation of the second moment of the spectrum of the density matrix and proceeds indefinitely, assuming unitary dynamics.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Dec 14 2012|