Realization of a Density-Dependent Peierls Phase in a Synthetic, Spin-Orbit Coupled Rydberg System
The group at Institut d’Optique (Université Paris-Saclay and CNRS) publishes a paper in Physical Review X demonstrating one of the basic building blocks towards the quantum simulation of two-dimensional topological matter. Using resonant dipole-dipole interactions between Rydberg levels, they show, in a minimalistic setup of just three atoms arranged in an equilateral triangle, how a spin excitation moves in a chiral way (i.e. with a preferred rotation direction) due to the spin-orbit coupling intrinsic to the dipolar interaction.
The direction of motion can be reversed at will by changing experimental parameters. More strikingly, the presence of a second spin excitation hinders the chiral motion, due to the hard-core character of the spin excitations. This behavior can be interpreted in terms of anyons, particles that display exotic quantum statistical properties, differing from the usual bosonic and fermionic statistics.
A natural extension of this work will be to study similar dynamics in larger systems, where exotic phases of matter are expected to appear.
V. Lienhard et al., “Realization of a Density-Dependent Peierls Phase in a Synthetic, Spin-Orbit Coupled Rydberg System”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 023201 (2020).