• Creating the Future

    The Hector Fellow Academy initiates innovative research projects on latest scientific problems.

Towards Topological Many-Body Physics Using State-Dependent Optical Lattices

Hendrik von Raven – Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch

Many fundamental phenomena in solids are caused by the topological properties of the system. The aim of the project is the design and construction of a new quantum gas experiment which is optimized for the study of topological systems. This cesium-based experiment will provide a novel method for the generation of complex topologies by means of state-dependent lattices and combine this with modern tools such as high-resolution microscopes.

In modern condensed matter physics topology plays a fundamental role in the classification of phases of matter. A prominent example is the quantum Hall effect discovered in two-dimensional electron gases under extreme conditions. Quantum Hall insulators are isolating in the bulk, but exhibit conducting edge states, which results in a quantised Hall conductance. The interplay between topology and interactions between particles gives rise to even more exotic phenomena. One example is the fractional quantum Hall effect where excitations with fractional charges and statistics can occur. These topological systems still pose many open questions and their theoretical understanding and possible realisations in physical systems is at the current frontier of research.

This project is part of the new Caesium laboratory of the Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch. The goal of this project is the design and construction of a new experimental quantum gas experiment, optimised for the study of topological systems. A central feature of this setup will be a novel technique for the creation of complex topological quantum states using state-dependent optical lattices. This will eliminate many limitations present in current experimental techniques. Additionally, the setup will incorporate novel techniques such as the usage of high resolution microscopes, allowing for the observation of single atoms. This setup will open the path for new studies of topological strongly-interacting phases of matter.

Artistic view of an optical flux lattice observed through a high resolution microscope