Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
We explore the nonequilibrium evolution and stationary states of an open many-body system that displays epidemic spreading dynamics in a classical and a quantum regime. Our study is motivated by recent experiments conducted in strongly interacting gases of highly excited Rydberg atoms where the facilitated excitation of Rydberg states competes with radiative decay. These systems approximately implement open quantum versions of models for population dynamics or disease spreading where species can be in a healthy, infected or immune state. We show that in a two-dimensional lattice, depending on the dominance of either classical or quantum effects, the system may display a different kind of nonequilibrium phase transition. We moreover discuss the observability of our findings in laser driven Rydberg gases with particular focus on the role of long-range interactions.