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Realistic Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit coupling for neutral atoms


We describe a new class of atom-laser coupling schemes which lead to spin-orbit-coupled Hamiltonians for ultracold neutral atoms. By properly setting the optical phases, a pair of degenerate pseudospin (a linear combination of internal atomic) states emerge as the lowest-energy eigenstates in the spectrum and are thus immune to collisionally induced decay. These schemes use N cyclically coupled ground or metastable internal states. We focus on two situations: a three-level case and a four-level case, where the latter adds a controllable Dresselhaus contribution. We describe an implementation of the four-level scheme for Rb-87 and analyze its sensitivity to typical laboratory noise sources. Last, we argue that the Rashba Hamiltonian applies only in the large intensity limit since any laser coupling scheme will produce terms nonlinear in momentum that decline with intensity.

Publication Details

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Physical Review A