DFG-Research Unit 2414 - DFG-Forschungsgruppe 2414

Welcome to the DFG-Research Unit 2414

Artificial Gauge Fields and Interacting Topological Phases in Ultracold Atoms

Gauge fields are fundamental for our modern understanding of physics at all scales. At high energies, the dynamics of elementary particles is governed by the exchange of gauge bosons, which range from photons in quantum electrodynamics to the more complex non-Abelian gauge fields of the standard model. At mesoscopic scales, external gauge fields can dramatically change the properties of a material. A seminal example is the one of electrons subjected to an external magnetic field, leading to the quantum Hall effect. Here, a variety of exotic quantum phenomena arise, where topology plays a fundamental role: from the existence of topological invariants and topologically protected edge currents to the emergence of quasiparticles with exotic braiding statistics. These fascinating effects are at the focus of current theoretical and experimental research, as they also hold the promise to revolutionize quantum information processing. Recently, the experimental realization of artificial gauge fields for neutral ultracold atoms has opened a door to the quantum simulation of topological quantum effects in novel, unprecedentedly well controlled environments.

In these setups, atoms are suitably coupled to laser fields that generate effective gauge potentials. These systems can mimic the dynamics of electrons moving in a magnetic field, but also, the dynamics of elementary particles in non-Abelian gauge fields. In this proposal we aim to theoretically investigate and experimentally realize novel topological phases of matter induced by synthetic gauge fields in ultracold atoms in optical lattices.

By exploiting the latest developments in experimental, analytical and numerical techniques, we attempt to characterize, engineer and probe topological phases such as topological insulators and superfluids, designing protocols to test their topological invariants, their exotic transport properties and the intriguing nature of their excitations. Special emphasis is given to the investigation of the interplay between interactions and external gauge fields, providing routes to the realization and detection of interacting phases, such as topological Mott insulators, fractional Chern insulators and fractional quantum Hall liquids. Moreover, we investigate out-of-equilibrium dynamics in the presence of gauge fields, exploring paths towards the realization of driven non-equilibrium topological phases. We expect our combined effort to bring both the theoretical understanding and the experimental realization of topological matter to a new level, paving the way towards future applications in quantum information processing and spintronics.

Annual Workshop

The workshop will take place from October 4 to October 5, 2018 at the Campus Westend, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany.


Quantum Optics Chair/ Fakultät für Physik

Schellingstr. 4
80799 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)89 2180 - 6130
Fax: +49 (0)89 2180 - 63851