22 July 2011 Simulating Classical Magnetism, in Science

Triangular Atom Lattice

Science publishes an article co-authored by ICFO Group Leader Prof. Maciej Lewenstein and Dr. André Eckardt. Researchers at the Institut für Laserphysik, Universität Hamburg, together with ICFO Group Leader and ICREA Prof. Maciej Lewenstein co-authored a paper entitled ‘Quantum Simulation of Frustrated Classical Magnetism in Triangular Optical Lattices’ which appears as an advanced publication in Science Express on 21 July 2011.

Magnetism plays a key role in modern technology and stimulates research in several branches of condensed matter physics. Although the theory of classical magnetism is well developed, the demonstration of a widely tunable experimental system has remained an elusive goal.

This work presents the realization of a large scale simulator for classical magnetism on a triangular lattice by exploiting the particular properties of a quantum system. The authors use the motional degrees of freedom of atoms trapped in an optical lattice to simulate a large variety of magnetic phases.

The results provide a route to study highly debated phases like spin-liquids as well as the dynamics of quantum phase transitions.