Experimental realization of strong effective magnetic fields in optical superlattice potentials
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We present the experimental generation of large effective magnetic fields for ultracold atoms using photon-assisted tunneling in an optical superlattice. The underlying method does not rely on the internal structure of the atoms and, therefore, constitutes a general approach to realize widely tunable artificial gauge fields without the drawbacks of near-resonant optical potentials. When hopping in the lattice, the accumulated phase shift by an atom is equivalent to the Aharonov–Bohm phase of a charged particle exposed to a staggered magnetic field of large magnitude, on the order of one flux quantum per plaquette. We study the ground state of this system and observe that the frustration induced by the magnetic field can lead to a degenerate ground state for non-interacting particles. We provide a local measurement of the phase acquired by single particles due to photon-assisted tunneling. Furthermore, the quantum cyclotron orbit of single atoms in the lattice exposed to the effective magnetic field is directly revealed.
We acknowledge insightful discussions with N. Cooper and we thank J. T. Barreiro for careful reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by the DFG (FOR 635, FOR801), the EU (STREP, NAMEQUAM, Marie Curie Fellowship to S.N.), and DARPA (OLE program). M. Aidelsburger was additionally supported by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung.
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