Synthetic gauge field with highly magnetic lanthanide atoms

Xiaoling Cui, Biao Lian, Tin Lun Ho, Benjamin L. Lev, Hui Zhai

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86 Scopus citations


We present a scheme for generating a synthetic magnetic field and spin-orbit coupling via Raman coupling in highly magnetic lanthanide atoms such as dysprosium. Employing these atoms offers several advantages for realizing strongly correlated states and exotic spinor phases. The large spin and narrow optical transitions of these atoms allow the generation of synthetic magnetic fields that are an order of magnitude larger than those in the alkali metals, but with considerable reduction of the heating rate for equal Raman coupling. The effective Hamiltonian of these systems differs from that of the alkali metals' by an additional nematic coupling term, which leads to a phase transition in the dressed states as detuning varies. For high-spin condensates, spin-orbit coupling leads to a spatially periodic structure, which is described in a Majorana representation by a set of points moving periodically on a unit sphere. We name this a "Majorana spinor helix," in analogy to the persistent spin-12 helix observed in electronic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011601
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 23 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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