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Simulating the solid state with ultracold atom gases

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Robert Smith.

Since the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in ultracold atomic gases in 1995, there has been a great deal of work on such systems. One interesting line involves putting cold atoms into laser standing waves. These standing waves mimic the periodic potential found in solids, with the atoms playing the role of the electrons.

However, the analogy is not direct. One of the reasons for this is that the cold-atom systems are finite and inhomogeneous, whereas the solid-state systems are (near-as-dammit-)infinite and homogeneous. In this talk, I shall discuss various issues arising from these differences, and propose an experimental scheme to make truly useful “quantum simulators” in this cold-atom context.

Much of what I will say, including simulations of the proposed experiment, is discussed in a recent preprint, arXiv:0705.3680.

This talk is part of the Quantum Matter Seminar series.

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