RSS icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Vimeo icon
YouTube icon

Probe knots and Hopf insulators with ultracold atoms

May 22, 2015 - 12:00pm
Speaker: 
Dongling Deng
Institution: 
JQI
Knots and links are fascinating and intricate topological objects that have played a prominent role in physical and life sciences. Their influence spans from DNA and molecular chemistry to vortices in superfluid helium, defects in liquid crystals and cosmic strings in the early universe. Here, we show that knotted structures also exist in a peculiar class of three dimensional topological insulators---the Hopf insulators. In particular, we demonstrate that the spin textures of Hopf insulators in momentum space are twisted in a nontrivial way, which implies various knot and link structures. We further illustrate that the knots and nontrivial spin textures can be probed via standard time-of-flight images in cold atoms as preimage contours of spin orientations in stereographic coordinates. The extracted Hopf invariants, knots, and links are validated to be robust to typical experimental imperfections. Our work establishes the existence of knotted structures in cold atoms and may have potential applications in spintronics and quantum information processings.

 

2136 PSC
College Park, MD 20742

Subscribe to A Quantum Bit 

Quantum physics began with revolutionary discoveries in the early twentieth century and continues to be central in today’s physics research. Learn about quantum physics, bit by bit. From definitions to the latest research, this is your portal. Subscribe to receive regular emails from the quantum world. Previous Issues...

Sign Up Now

Sign up to receive A Quantum Bit in your email!

 Have an idea for A Quantum Bit? Submit your suggestions to jqi-comm@umd.edu