Engineering optical lattices with laser-induced tunnelling amplitudes has enabled the realization of artificial magnetic fields with remarkable tunability. Here, we report on the observation of chiral Meissner currents in bosonic ladders exposed to a strong artificial magnetic field. By suddenly decoupling the individual ladders and projecting into isolated double wells, we are able to measure the currents on each side of the ladder. For large coupling strengths along the rungs of the ladder, we find a saturated maximum chiral current, which is analogous to the surface currents in the Meissner effect. Below a critical inter-leg coupling strength, the chiral current decreases in good agreement with our expectations for a vortex lattice phase. Our realization of a low-dimensional Meissner-like effect and spin–orbit coupling in one dimension opens the path to exploring interacting particles in low dimensions exposed to a uniform magnetic field.
Your institute does not have access to this article
Open Access articles citing this article.
Journal of High Energy Physics Open Access 22 October 2021
npj Quantum Information Open Access 06 February 2020
Nature Communications Open Access 16 July 2019
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Meissner, W. & Ochsenfeld, R. Ein neuer Effekt bei Eintritt der Supraleitfähigkeit. Naturwissenschaften 21, 787–788 (1933).
Bardeen, J., Cooper, L. N. & Schrieffer, J. R. Theory of superconductivity. Phys. Rev. 108, 1175–1204 (1957).
Orignac, E. & Giamarchi, T. Meissner effect in a bosonic ladder. Phys. Rev. B 64, 144515 (2001).
Petrescu, A. & Le Hur, K. Bosonic Mott insulator with Meissner currents. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 150601 (2013).
Dhar, A. et al. Bose–Hubbard model in a strong effective magnetic field: Emergence of a chiral Mott insulator ground state. Phys. Rev. A 85, 041602(R) (2012).
Hügel, D. & Paredes, B. Chiral ladders and the edges of Chern insulators. Phys. Rev. A 89, 023619 (2014).
Celi, A. et al. Synthetic gauge fields in synthetic dimensions. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 043001 (2014).
Kessler, S. & Marquardt, F. Single-site resolved measurement of the current statistics in optical lattices. Preprint at http://arXiv.org/abs/1309.3890 (2013).
Tokuno, A. & Georges, A. Ground states of a Bose–Hubbard ladder in an artificial magnetic field: Field-theoretical approach. Preprint at http://arXiv.org/abs/1403.0413 (2014).
Goldman, N., Juzeliūnas, G., Öhberg, P. & Spielman, I. B. Light-induced gauge fields for ultracold atoms. Preprint at http://arXiv.org/abs/1308.6533 (2013).
Jaksch, D. & Zoller, P. Creation of effective magnetic fields in optical lattices: The Hofstadter butterfly for cold neutral atoms. New J. Phys. 5, 56 (2003).
Gerbier, F. & Dalibard, J. Gauge fields for ultracold atoms in optical superlattices. New J. Phys. 12, 033007 (2010).
Kolovsky, A. Creating artificial magnetic fields for cold atoms by photon-assisted tunneling. Europhys. Lett. 93, 20003 (2011).
Aidelsburger, M. et al. Experimental realization of strong effective magnetic fields in an optical lattice. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 255301 (2011).
Aidelsburger, M. et al. Realization of the Hofstadter Hamiltonian with ultracold atoms in optical lattices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 185301 (2013).
Miyake, H. et al. Realizing the Harper Hamiltonian with laser-assisted tunneling in optical lattices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 185302 (2013).
Jiménez-García, K. et al. Peierls substitution in an engineered lattice potential. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 225303 (2012).
Struck, J. et al. Tunable gauge potential for neutral and spinless particles in driven optical lattices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 225304 (2012).
Juzeliūnas, G. & Öhberg, P. Creation of an effective magnetic field in ultracold atomic gases using electromagnetically induced transparency. Opt. Spectrosc. 99, 357–361 (2005).
Kardar, M. Josephson-junction ladders and quantum fluctuations. Phys. Rev. B 33, 3125–3128 (1986).
Granato, E. Phase transitions in Josephson-junction ladders in a magnetic field. Phys. Rev. B 42, 4797–4799 (1990).
Denniston, C. & Tang, C. Phases of Josephson junction ladders. Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 3930–3933 (1995).
Nishiyama, Y. Finite-size-scaling analyses of the chiral order in the Josephson-junction ladder with half a flux quantum per plaquette. Eur. Phys. J. B 17, 295–299 (2000).
Hess, G. B. & Fairbank, W. M. Measurements of angular momentum in superfluid helium. Phys. Rev. Lett. 19, 216–218 (1967).
Ramanathan, A. et al. Superflow in a toroidal Bose–Einstein condensate: An atom circuit with a tunable weak link. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 130401 (2011).
Trotzky, S. et al. Probing the relaxation towards equilibrium in an isolated strongly correlated one-dimensional Bose gas. Nature Phys. 8, 325–330 (2012).
Killi, M., Trotzky, S. & Paramekanti, A. Anisotropic quantum quench in the presence of frustration or background gauge fields: A probe of bulk currents and topological chiral edge modes. Phys. Rev. A 86, 063632 (2012).
Sebby-Strabley, J., Anderlini, M., Jessen, P. S. & Porto, J. V. Lattice of double wells for manipulating pairs of cold atoms. Phys. Rev. A 73, 033605 (2006).
Bakr, W. et al. Probing the superfluid-to-Mott-insulator transition at the single-atom level. Science 329, 547–550 (2010).
Sherson, J. et al. Single-atom-resolved fluorescence imaging of an atomic Mott insulator. Nature 467, 68–72 (2010).
Fisher, M., Weichman, P., Grinstein, G. & Fisher, D.S. Boson localization and the superfluid–insulator transition. Phys. Rev. B 40, 546–570 (1989).
Greiner, M. et al. Quantum phase transition from a superfluid to a Mott insulator in a gas of ultracold atoms. Nature 415, 39–44 (2002).
Zaletel, M. P., Parameswaran, S. A., Rüegg, A. & Altman, E. Chiral Bosonic Mott insulator on the frustrated triangular lattice. Phys. Rev. B 89, 155142 (2014).
Endres, M. et al. Observation of correlated particle–hole pairs and string order in low-dimensional Mott insulators. Science 334, 200–203 (2011).
We thank S. Nascimbène, Y-A. Chen, D. Hügel and C. Schweizer for stimulating discussions and for sharing their ideas. This work was supported by the DFG (FOR801), NIM and the EU (UQUAM, SIQS). M. Aidelsburger was additionally supported by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Atala, M., Aidelsburger, M., Lohse, M. et al. Observation of chiral currents with ultracold atoms in bosonic ladders. Nature Phys 10, 588–593 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys2998
Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy (2022)
Nature Physics (2021)
Journal of High Energy Physics (2021)
npj Quantum Information (2020)
Nature Communications (2019)