Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Institute for Quantum Information Seminar
Exploring quantum soft matter in an AMO setting
Benjamin Lev, Stanford University
Laser-cooled and trapped gases of neutral atoms can serve as versatile testbeds for exploring the organizing principles of quantum matter. Although recent experiments can access the strongly correlated physics of gases and insulators, quantum realizations of everyday soft matter---glasses and liquid crystals that lie intermediate between canonical examples of order (crystals) and disorder (gases)---have yet to be created using ultracold atoms. My group aims to elucidate the interplay between superfluidity, crystallinity, and magnetism in quantum soft matter using novel techniques developed to: 1) realize quantum dipolar gases for exploring quantum liquid crystal physics; 2) manipulate ultracold atoms near cryogenic surfaces for high-resolution, high-sensitivity imaging of (topologically protected) transport in, e.g., unconventional superconductors; 3) realize supersmectic, superglass, and spin glass phases in a many-body, multimode cavity QED context. As a step forward, we recently created the first quantum degenerate dipolar Fermi gas as well as a strongly dipolar Bose-Einstein condensate by laser cooling and trapping the highly complex and most magnetic element, dysprosium.