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Coupled atomic wires in a synthetic magnetic field

Journal article
Authors Jan Carl Budich
A. Elben
M. Lacki
A. Sterdyniak
M. A. Baranov
P. Zoller
Published in Physical Review A
Volume 95
Issue 4
ISSN 2469-9926
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Language en
Keywords laguerre-gaussian modes, optical lattices, neutral atoms, topological, insulators, fractional statistics, angular-momentum, ultracold gases, bosonic atoms, landau-level, quantum, Optics, Physics
Subject categories Optics


We propose and study systems of coupled atomic wires in a perpendicular synthetic magnetic field as a platform to realize exotic phases of quantum matter. This includes (fractional) quantum Hall states in arrays of many wires inspired by the pioneering work [C. L. Kane et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 036401 (2002)], as well as Meissner phases and vortex phases in double wires. With one continuous and one discrete spatial dimension, the proposed setup naturally complements recently realized discrete counterparts, i.e., the Harper-Hofstadter model and the two-leg flux ladder, respectively. We present both an in-depth theoretical study and a detailed experimental proposal to make the unique properties of the semicontinuous Harper-Hofstadter model accessible with cold-atom experiments. For the minimal setup of a double wire, we explore how a subwavelength spacing of the wires can be implemented. This construction increases the relevant energy scales by at least an order of magnitude compared to ordinary optical lattices, thus rendering subtle many-body phenomena such as Lifshitz transitions in Fermi gases observable in an experimentally realistic parameter regime. For arrays of many wires, we discuss the emergence of Chern bands with readily tunable flatness of the dispersion and show how fractional quantum Hall states can be stabilized in such systems. Using for the creation of optical potentials Laguerre-Gauss beams that carry orbital angular momentum, we detail how the coupled atomic wire setups can be realized in nonplanar geometries such as cylinders, disks, and tori.

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