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Title: Quantum simulation using ultracold atoms in two-dimensional optical lattices
Author: Al-Assam, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2710 8580
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Ultracold atoms in optical lattices can be used to model condensed matter systems. They provide a clean, tuneable system which can be engineered to reach parameter regimes that are not accessible in condensed matter systems. Furthermore, they provide different techniques for probing the properties of these systems. This thesis presents an experimental and theoretical study of ultracold atoms in optical lattices for quantum simulation of two-dimensional systems.The first part of this thesis describes an experiment with a Bose-Einstein condensate of 87Rb loaded into a two-dimensional optical lattice. The beams that generate the optical lattice are controlled by acousto-optic deflection to provide a flexible optical lattice potential. The use of a dynamic ‘accordion’ lattice with ultracold atoms, where the spacing of the lattice is increased in both directions from 2.2 to 5.5 μm, is described. This technique allows an experiment such as quantum simulations to be performed with a lattice spacing smaller than the resolution limit of the imaging system, while allowing imaging of the atoms at individual lattice sites by subsequent expansion of the optical lattice. The optical lattice can also be rotated, generating an artificial magnetic field. Previous experiments with the rotating optical lattice are summarised, and steps to reaching the strongly correlated regime are discussed. The second part of this thesis details numerical techniques that can be used to describe strongly correlated two-dimensional systems. These systems are challenging to simulate numerically, as the exponential growth in the size of the Hilbert space with the number of particles means that they can only be solved exactly for very small systems. Recently proposed correlator product states [Phys. Rev. B 80, 245116 (2009)] provide a numerically efficient description which can be used to simulate large two-dimensional systems. In this thesis we apply this method to the two-dimensional quantum Ising model, and the Bose-Hubbard model subject to an artificial magnetic field in the regime where fractional quantum Hall states are predicted to occur.
Supervisor: Foot, Christopher ; Jaksch, Dieter Sponsor: European Science Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atomic and laser physics ; ultracold atoms ; quantum simulation ; optical lattices ; strongly correlated systems