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Aidelsburger, M. (2018): Artificial gauge fields and topology with ultracold atoms in optical lattices. In: Journal of Physics B-Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics, Vol. 51, No. 19, 193001
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Abstract

Topological many-body phases of matter exhibit remarkable electronic properties and ultracold atoms in optical lattices constitute promising candidates to study them in a well-controlled environment. In two-dimensional (2D) electron gases topological phases may emerge in the presence of strong magnetic fields. This situation is not directly applicable to cold atoms because they are charge neutral. Therefore, novel experimental techniques have been developed to engineer novel lattice systems, whose Hamiltonian is formally equivalent to the one of charged particles in magnetic fields. In this Tutorial, we introduce a paradigmatic topological lattice model, the Hofstadter model, and explain how it can be implemented with ultracold atoms using laser-assisted tunneling. The technique is based on imprinting phases on the tunneling matrix elements using additional laser beams. These phases are reminiscent of Aharonov-Bohm phases and can be interpreted as a magnetic flux piercing the lattice unit cell. We present experimental results on the cyclotron-like dynamics of neutral atoms in isolated four-site square plaquettes and discuss the first measurement of a 2D topological invariant, the Chem number, in artificially generated Hofstadter bands. The work presented in this Tutorial was one of the four shortlisted finalists of the 2016 DPG SAMOP dissertation prize.