Colloquium - Simulating Magnetic Fields with Ultracold Atoms
Dr. Lindsay LeBlanc National Institute of Standards & Technology University of Maryland
While atomic physics has traditionally been used to study the properties of individual particles, recent experimental progress has demonstrated how atomic systems can be used to explore many-body and strongly correlated physics. Neutral ultracold atoms, whose internal states, interactions, motion, and environment can be precisely engineered and whose properties can be accurately measured, are an ideal medium in which to implement quantum simulation. By placing quantum mechanical constituent particles in a well-designed environment and allowing them to evolve under the associated custom Hamiltonian, their behaviour will mimic the system of interest and provide insight into any system governed by such a Hamiltonian. Among the many recent cold atom experiments demonstrating quantum simulation, techniques that modify the spin and momentum degrees of freedom were used to subject neutral atoms to an “artificial” magnetic field and associated Lorentz force. Adding these methods to the quantum simulation toolbox opens up new possibilities for studying the behavior of many-body systems, including a recent demonstration that used the superfluid Hall effect to extract information about a Bose-Einstein condensate. Through the continued development and implementation of these quantum simulation tools, new models of quantum matter can be constructed to answer questions about the emergence and behavior of many-body systems that cannot be answered via classical computation.