The phenomenon of many-body localized (MBL) systems has attracted significant interest in recent years, for its intriguing implications from a perspective of both condensed-matter and statistical physics: they are insulators even at non-zero temperature and fail to thermalize, violating expectations from quantum statistical mechanics. What is more, recent seminal experimental developments with ultra-cold atoms in optical lattices constituting analog quantum simulators have pushed many-body localized systems into the realm of physical systems that can be measured with high accuracy. In this work, we introduce experimentally accessible witnesses that directly probe distinct features of MBL, distinguishing it from its Anderson counterpart. We insist on building our toolbox from techniques available in the laboratory, including on-site addressing, super-lattices, and time-of-flight measurements, identifying witnesses based on fluctuations, density–density correlators, densities, and entanglement. We build upon the theory of out of equilibrium quantum systems, in conjunction with tensor network and exact simulations, showing the effectiveness of the tools for realistic models.
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