Exploring non-equilibrium phase transitions with driven Rydberg ensembles
Abstract: Stochastic processes with absorbing states feature remarkable examples of non-equilibrium universal phenomena. While a broad understanding has been progressively established in the classical regime, relatively little is known about the behavior of these non-equilibrium systems in the presence of quantum fluctuations. Here we theoretically address such a scenario in an open quantum spin model which in its classical limit undergoes a directed percolation phase transition. By mapping the problem to a non-equilibrium field theory, we show that the introduction of quantum fluctuations stemming from coherent, rather than statistical, spin-flips alters the nature of the transition such that it becomes first-order.