Skip to Content

Ultracold atoms as quantum simulators for new materials –optical lattices and synthetic magnetic fields

Ketterle When atoms are cooled to nanokelvin temperatures, they can easily be confined and manipulated with laser beams.  Crystalline materials are simulated by placing the atoms into an optical lattice, a periodic interference pattern of laser beams.  Recently, synthetic magnetic fields and spin-orbit coupling have been realized.  With the help of laser beams, neutral atoms move around in the same way as charged particles subject to the magnetic Lorentz force.  These developments should allow the realization of quantum Hall systems and topological insulators with ultracold atoms.