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Two-orbital SU(N) magnetism with ultracold alkaline-earth atoms

TitleTwo-orbital SU(N) magnetism with ultracold alkaline-earth atoms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsA. V. Gorshkov, M. Hermele, V. Gurarie, C. Xu, P. S. Julienne, J. Ye, P. Zoller, E. Demler, M. D. Lukin, and A. M. Rey
JournalNat. Phys.
Date Publishedfeb

Fermionic alkaline-earth atoms have unique properties that make them attractive candidates for the realization of novel atomic clocks and degenerate quantum gases. At the same time, they are attracting considerable theoretical attention in the context of quantum information processing. Here we demonstrate that when such atoms are loaded in optical lattices, they can be used as quantum simulators of unique many-body phenomena. In particular, we show that the decoupling of the nuclear spin from the electronic angular momentum can be used to implement many-body systems with an unprecedented degree of symmetry, characterized by the SU(N) group with N as large as 10. Moreover, the interplay of the nuclear spin with the electronic degree of freedom provided by a stable optically excited state allows for the study of spin-orbital physics. Such systems may provide valuable insights into strongly correlated physics of transition metal oxides, heavy fermion materials, and spin liquid phases.