Probing entanglement in a many-body-localized system
An interacting quantum system that is subject to disorder may cease to thermalize due to localization of its constituents, thereby marking the breakdown of thermodynamics. The key to our understanding of this phenomenon lies in the system’s entanglement, which is experimentally challenging to measure. We realize such a many-body-localized system in a disordered Bose-Hubbard chain and characterize its entanglement properties through particle fluctuations and correlations. We observe that the particles become localized, suppressing transport and preventing the thermalization of subsystems. Notably, we measure the development of non-local correlations, whose evolution is consistent with a logarithmic growth of entanglement entropy - the hallmark of many-body localization. Our work experimentally establishes many-body localization as a qualitatively distinct phenomenon from localization in non-interacting, disordered systems.