Duration: 01.07.2011 – 30.06.2014, ARRS (J1-4022)

We proposeed an investigation on the coherent temporal dynamics of manybody systems undergoing Symmetrybreaking transitions (SBTs) under highly nonequilibrium nonergodic

conditions. The project was centred around a unique new 3pulse femtosecond spectroscopy technique which allows realtime high resolution investigations of the critical dynamics and order parameter trajectories through SBTs after a laser “quench”. The technique, which was recently invented by our group, allows the direct observation of the emergence of singleparticle fermionic and collective bosonic excitations through the SBT reflecting the trajectory of the order parameter. Using it, we have address fundamental questions on the effect of the properties of underlying microscopic vacua such as symmetry and fundamental interactions on global behaviour described by field theory.

Systems included in our study belong to different universality classes and display structural, charge and spin ordering transitions, the superconducting transition, or competing order (multiferroics).

Special attention was paid to systems in which the order parameter has universal significance both experimentally and theoretically. Topological defects created in the aftermath of SBTs by the KibbleZurek mechanism and the emission and control of collective field oscillations (Higgs waves) was investigated. The transition trajectories to new states of matter in the nonequilibrium energy landscape were also investigated in detail. The fundamental and practical implications of coherent trajectory control at bifurcation points (the butterfly effect) were studied, addressing theoretical questions of kinetics and dynamics. In the general framework of reductionism, we expect our findings to have fundamental bearing on our understanding of SBTs revealing predictive telltale signatures of critical events in areas beyond manybody condensed matter physics, such as in the Higgs mechanism, primordial behaviour and financial systems. The project represents a world novelty both in terms of experiment and theory and has important implications for control of many body systems for conceptually new data processing and information storage systems on ultrafast timescales.