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      Quantum Simulation of Antiferromagnetic Spin Chains in an Optical Lattice

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          Abstract

          Understanding exotic forms of magnetism in quantum mechanical systems is a central goal of modern condensed matter physics, with implications from high temperature superconductors to spintronic devices. Simulating magnetic materials in the vicinity of a quantum phase transition is computationally intractable on classical computers due to the extreme complexity arising from quantum entanglement between the constituent magnetic spins. Here we employ a degenerate Bose gas confined in an optical lattice to simulate a chain of interacting quantum Ising spins as they undergo a phase transition. Strong spin interactions are achieved through a site-occupation to pseudo-spin mapping. As we vary an applied field, quantum fluctuations drive a phase transition from a paramagnetic phase into an antiferromagnetic phase. In the paramagnetic phase the interaction between the spins is overwhelmed by the applied field which aligns the spins. In the antiferromagnetic phase the interaction dominates and produces staggered magnetic ordering. Magnetic domain formation is observed through both in-situ site-resolved imaging and noise correlation measurements. By demonstrating a route to quantum magnetism in an optical lattice, this work should facilitate further investigations of magnetic models using ultracold atoms, improving our understanding of real magnetic materials.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Many-Body Physics with Ultracold Gases

          This article reviews recent experimental and theoretical progress on many-body phenomena in dilute, ultracold gases. Its focus are effects beyond standard weak-coupling descriptions, like the Mott-Hubbard-transition in optical lattices, strongly interacting gases in one and two dimensions or lowest Landau level physics in quasi two-dimensional gases in fast rotation. Strong correlations in fermionic gases are discussed in optical lattices or near Feshbach resonances in the BCS-BEC crossover.
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            Boson localization and the superfluid-insulator transition

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              Cold bosonic atoms in optical lattices

              The dynamics of an ultracold dilute gas of bosonic atoms in an optical lattice can be described by a Bose-Hubbard model where the system parameters are controlled by laser light. We study the continuous (zero temperature) quantum phase transition from the superfluid to the Mott insulator phase induced by varying the depth of the optical potential, where the Mott insulator phase corresponds to a commensurate filling of the lattice (``optical crystal''). Examples for formation of Mott structures in optical lattices with a superimposed harmonic trap, and in optical superlattices are presented.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                07 March 2011
                2011-05-15
                Article
                10.1038/nature09994
                1103.1372

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                Nature 472, 307(2011)
                12 pages, 9 figures
                cond-mat.quant-gas quant-ph

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