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Abstract

A well-isolated system often shows relaxation to a quasi-stationary state before reaching thermal equilibrium. Such a prethermalization has attracted considerable interest recently in association with closely related fundamental problems of relaxation and thermalization of isolated quantum systems. Motivated by the recent experiment in ultracold atoms, we study the dynamics of a one-dimensional Bose gas which is split into two subsystems, and find that individual subsystems relax to Gibbs states, yet the entire system does not due to quantum entanglement. In view of recent experimental realization on a small well-defined number of ultracold atoms, our prediction based on exact few-body calculations is amenable to experimental test. In this presentation, we also discuss the system-size dependence of entanglement prethermalization. It implies that larger systems would display entanglement prethermalization.