EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J001392/1
Title: Artificial Electromagnetism
Principal Investigator: Ohberg, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2012 Ends: 31 August 2015 Value (£): 307,507
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Cold Atomic Species Quantum Optics & Information
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2011 EPSRC Physical Sciences Physics - September Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In 1982 Richard Feynman introduced the concept of a quantum emulator, as a possibility to circumvent the difficulty of simulating quantum physics with classical computers. His idea, based on the universality of quantum mechanics, was to use one controllable device to simulate other systems of interest. Nowadays Feynman's intuition is being implemented in various setups and among them, cold gases of neutral atoms play a central role. These gases indeed constitute remarkably flexible playgrounds. They can be formed of bosons, fermions, or mixtures of both. Their environment can be controlled using the potential created by laser light, with harmonic, periodic, quasi-periodic or disordered energy landscapes. Interactions between particles can be adjusted using scattering resonances. At first sight the only missing ingredient is the equivalent of orbital magnetism, which would allow for the simulation of phenomena such as the Quantum Hall effect. This proposal fills this gap.

We will study optically induced artificial electromagnetism and gauge fields in ultracold quantum gases. With artificial gauge fields we have a new tool at hand, and with a new tool one can do new things. The programme will investigate and stretch our understanding of matter and its constituents at the most fundamental level. It will be dealing with concepts ranging from the ultracold to the ultrahot; concepts from low temperature condensed matter physics and high energy physics with its description of interactions between elementary particles.

The artificial gauge potential is optically induced. It relies on the geometrical phase arising from the interplay between incident laser light and the atoms, or alternatively on laser assisted tunneling in optical lattices. The resulting gauge potential in these scenarios can be made strong, it can be made inhomogeneous, and it can have a multi dimensional matrix form. One can therefore access regimes which are not easily reached in conventional condensed matter systems and high energy physics.

In the proposal we will take the concept of quantum simulators to an entirely new level. We will theoretically investigate a number of key scenarios which will probe the innermost nature of matter and its fundamental interactions, with a clear aim to provide blueprints for the experimentalists to simulate models of quantum field theories and topological states of matter using ultracold atoms which are subject to artificial gauge fields. Three related sub-topics will capture the nature of the programme: (I) Spin-orbit coupled quantum gases, (II) Anyons in ultracold matter, and (III) Dynamical artificial gauge fields.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk