Non-equilibrium phenomena of ultracold quantum gasses trapped in optical lattice potentials.
Charles Brown, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley
Experiments with quantum gasses trapped in optical lattices, an analog of particles in a solid crystalline lattice, shed light on the behavior of condensed-matter systems, including solid-state materials. Studying non-equilibrium phenomena of quantum gasses in optical lattices provides a method to explore how a lattice’s energy band structure is augmented by inter-particle interactions (band renormalization). Separately, studying such phenomena provides a method to explore the geometric and topological structure of a lattice’s energy bands. These studies are aided by experimental probes that are unavailable to solid-state systems.
In the first part of my talk, I will describe our recent work towards understanding the effects of frustration in a system of bosonic atoms trapped in a unique lattice made of light – an optical kagome lattice. Here, we create a Bose-Einstein condensate, accelerate it, then trap it in the lattice. In doing so, we probe a special energy band of the lattice, which is expected to be dispersionless (flat, as a function of quasimomentum). However, our measurements show that interactions between atoms reintroduce band curvature by deforming the lattice away from the kagome geometry. In the second part of my talk, I will describe our current effort to understand the geometric and topological properties of energy bands, by using a new technique to explore singularities at touching points between two bands.
Host: Harsh Mathur