Abstract
We show that the critical point of the twodimensional BoseHubbard model can be easily found through studies of either onsite atom number fluctuations or the nearestneighbor twopoint correlation function (the expectation value of the tunnelling operator). Our strategy to locate the critical point is based on the observation that the derivatives of these observables with respect to the parameter that drives the superfluidMott insulator transition are singular at the critical point in the thermodynamic limit. Performing the quantum Monte Carlo simulations of the twodimensional BoseHubbard model, we show that this technique leads to the accurate determination of the position of its critical point. Our results can be easily extended to the threedimensional BoseHubbard model and different Hubbardlike models. They provide a simple experimentallyrelevant way of locating critical points in various cold atomic lattice systems.
Introduction
The amazing recent progress in cold atom manipulations allows for experimental studies of strongly correlated bosonic systems placed in lattices of various dimensions and shapes^{1,2,3}. The basic physics of such systems is captured by the BoseHubbard model^{1,2,3,4,5,6}, whose Hamiltonian has the following deceptively simple form
where 〈i, j〉 stands for nearestneighbor lattice sites i and j, while annihilates (creates) an atom in the ith lattice site. The first term in this Hamiltonian describes nearestneighbor tunnelling, while the second one describes repulsive onsite interactions. Thus, the former term promotes spreading of atoms across the lattice, which leads to onsite atom number fluctuations that are being suppressed by the latter term.
The competition between the tunnelling and interactions leads to the quantum phase transition when the average number of atoms per lattice site (the filling factor) is integer^{4}. The system is in the Mott insulator phase when J/U < (J/U)_{c} and it is in the superfluid phase when J/U > (J/U)_{c}.
The location of the critical point depends on the dimensionality of the system and the filling factor. We are primarily interested here in the twodimensional (2D) BoseHubbard model at unit filling factor. Such a model can be emulated in a cold atom cloud placed in the optical lattice generated by three standing laser beams producing the periodic potential
for atoms (see refs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 for experimental studies of the 2D BoseHubbard model). Above λ is the wavelength of the laser beams, V is the height of the optical potential in the x–y plane where we study the 2D BoseHubbard model, and V_{⊥} is the height of the lattice potential confining the atoms to this plane . Additionally, we assume that atoms are kept in the optical lattice by the optical box trap enabling studies of homogeneous systems (see refs 13 and 14 for experiments on cold atoms in box potentials).
The position of the critical point in the 2D BoseHubbard model at unit filling factor has been discussed in numerous theoretical studies and an agreement has been reached that
This value was obtained by theoretical studies of the superfluid density^{15}, compressibility^{16}, structure factor^{17}, energy gap^{18,19,20,21}, entanglement entropy^{22}, fidelity susceptibility^{23}, fixed points of the realspace renormalization group flow^{24}, and superfluid order parameter^{25,26}. We will discuss below two more observables that can be used to locate the critical point. They are in our view the most natural experimentallyrelevant observables one can think of in the context of the BoseHubbard model.
Results
Idea
To proceed, it is convenient to introduce the parameter
and denote the ground state of the Hamiltonian (1) as η〉.
Our idea is to locate the critical point of the 2D BoseHubbard model through the singularities of the derivatives of either the nearestneighbor twopoint correlation function
or the variance of onsite atom number operator
which has not been done before.
More precisely, we propose that for some specific largeenough r
will be divergent at the critical point in the thermodynamicallylarge system at zero absolute temperature. The singularity of (7) follows from the defining feature of a quantum phase transition: Nonanalyticity of the groundstate energy at the quantum critical point (Ch. 1.1 of ref. 27; see also ref. 28 for a pleasant introduction to quantum phase transitions).
We proceed in the standard way to verify this claim. We introduce the groundstate energy , note that is a function of η only, use the FeynmanHellman theorem
and take into account that
and
where M is the number of lattice sites. The 2D square lattice geometry and unit filling factor are assumed in equations (9) and (10), respectively. The translational invariance of the ground state is also assumed in these equations. Generalization of equations (9) and (10) to other lattice geometries and filling factors is straightforward.
Using equations (8, 9, 10) one finds that
and
As the quantum critical point is traditionally associated with nonanalyticity of the groundstate energy, we assume that the derivatives of the groundstate energy with respect to the parameter driving the transition,
are continuous for m = 0, …, r and either divergent or discontinuous at the critical point for m = r + 1.
The question now is which derivative of the groundstate energy should we expect to be divergent? To answer this question, we note that the quantum phase transition of the 2D BoseHubbard model lies in the universality class of the classical 3D XY model^{4}, whose singular part of the free energy scales with the distance t from the critical point as f_{s}(t) ~ t^{2−α}, where α equals about −0.0136 (see refs 29 and 30). Following the discussion in Ch. 1.7 of ref. 31, we write , where f_{+} (f_{−}) is the free energy for t > 0 (t < 0), which has been analytically continued to the complex t plane. Nonanalyticity at the critical point is then seen by nonzero derivative(s) of f_{s} at t = 0. The third and higher derivatives of f_{s} are divergent at the critical point of the classical 3D XY model. Going back from the classical 3D XY model to the quantum 2D BoseHubbard model, we expect that the third derivative of the groundstate energy will be singular. This translates into the divergent second derivative of both nearestneighbor correlation function and variance through (11) and (12), respectively. Such singularity of C(η) and Var(η) is expected to develop in the limits of temperature T → 0 and the system size M → ∞. For finite systems instead of a singularity either an extremum or a kink smoothing out discontinuity should develop near the critical point for small enough temperatures. We will now discuss the observables that we use for finding the critical point.
Observables
The correlation functions are arguably the most experimentally accessible correlation functions in cold atom systems. It is so because their Fourier transform provides a quasimomentum distribution of cold atom clouds, which can be extracted from the timeofflight images^{32,33} (see refs 7, 8, 9 for measurements in the 2D BoseHubbard system).
The critical point can be extracted from these correlation functions through the study of their decay with the distance i − j between the lattice sites. They are expected to decay exponentially in the Mott phase and algebraically in the superfluid phase in the thermodynamicallylarge zerotemperature system. Such a strategy of finding the critical point in the 2D BoseHubbard model is problematic because the exponential vs. algebraic transition is expected to happen for large i − j distances. Such distances are hard to deal with in theoretical calculations because the model is not exactly solvable and it does require substantial computational resources to handle moderate lattices sizes. On the cold atom experimental side, one has to face issues with accurate measurement of distant correlation functions.
Therefore, we would like to argue that our approach provides a more practical way of locating the critical point as it is based on the nearestneighbor twopoint correlation function, which among other correlation functions is the easiest to obtain both theoretically and experimentally.
The variance of the onsite atom occupation can be estimated insitu thanks to the recent breakthrough in the quantum gas microscopy^{34}. This technique allows for the detection of 0, 1, 2, 3 atoms in individual lattice sites. Choosing the sites far away from the borders of the trap, one should be able to minimize the influence of finitesize effects, which should facilitate extraction of the critical point from the experimental data.
The derivatives of the two observables, C(η) and Var(η), are proportional to each other^{35}
so it suffices to measure either one of them.
Therefore, we would like to stress that the measurements of either C(η) or Var(η) are possible in the current stateoftheart experimental setups. In fact, the measurements of C(η) have been possible since the seminal paper of Greiner et al.^{32}. It is thus a little bit surprising that nobody has studied the derivatives of at least C(η) to obtain unambiguous signatures of a superfluidMott insulator quantum phase transition. The idea to find the critical point through the expectation values (or thermodynamical averages in classical phase transitions) of different terms of the Hamiltonian is quite natural and has been explored before (see e.g. ref. 31 in the context of classical and ref. 36 in the context of quantum phase transitions). To the best of our knowledge, however, nonanalytic properties of these expectation values have not been explored in the context of cold atomic systems. We fill this gap by presenting the following quantum Monte Carlo simulations that we hope will motivate future experimental efforts.
Quantum Monte Carlo simulations
We perform quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) simulations of the 2D BoseHubbard model (1) imposing periodic boundary conditions on the lattice^{37,38}. We divide the Hamiltonian by U, thereby choosing U as the unit of energy, and set η as the parameter driving the transition (4).
We compute the variance of the onsite atom occupation for lattice sizes M = 10^{2} to 40^{2} and temperatures k_{B}T/U between 0.005 and 0.08. To estimate what such temperatures correspond to, we assume two plausible experimental setups. Namely, ^{23}Na and ^{87}Rb atoms placed in the lattice (2) with λ = 532 nm and V_{⊥} = 30 E_{R}, where the recoil energy E_{R} = ħ^{2}k^{2}/2 m with m being the mass of the atom. As the swave scattering lengths we take 2.8 nm for sodium and 5.3 nm for rubidium. Computing Wannier functions and proceeding in the standard way^{39}, we find that the critical point (3) for the sodium (rubidium) system is located at the height V of the lattice potential equal to 10.1 E_{R} (8.0 E_{R}), for which the coefficient U equals 0.31 E_{R} (0.51 E_{R}). Having these coefficients, one finds that U/k_{B} at the critical point equals 461 nK for sodium and 199 nK for rubidium, respectively. Combining these results, we see that the highest temperatures that we consider are 37 nK (16 nK) for the aboveproposed sodium (rubidium) setup. Both temperatures are experimentally accessible^{9,10,11,12}.
The results that we obtain are presented in Figs 1, 2, 3 and 4. To be able to accurately extract the derivatives of the variance, we fit Padé approximants
to the QMC numerics (Fig. 1) and then differentiate the resulting curves (Figs 2, 3 and 4). Such a procedure removes the influence of small fluctuations in the QMC calculations on our results. Moreover, it can be straightforwardly applied to experimental data that will be affected in a similar way by the limited accuracy of measurements.
Looking at Fig. 1, we see that for the lowest temperature displayed, k_{B}T/U = 0.005, there is a steep increase of the variance around the critical point (3). Such an abrupt increase is reminiscent of the behavior of magnetization of the 1D quantum Ising model in the transverse field near the critical point^{40}. As temperature rises, the abrupt growth of the variance near the critical point fades away and the variance seems to be featureless, which is illustrated for k_{B}T/U = 0.04 and 0.06 in Fig. 1. It is thus worth to stress that the position of the critical point is beautifully encoded in all the curves from Fig. 1.
In order to extract it, we compute ∂_{η}Var, where ∂_{η} = ∂/∂η, finding that it has a maximum very close to the critical point (Fig. 2). The position of the maximum, η_{max}(M), moves towards the critical point as the system size is increased. To extrapolate it to the thermodynamic limit, we fit
to QMC data for M = 10^{2} − 40^{2} and k_{B}T/U = 0.01 (Fig. 2b; all the fits below are also done for these parameters). We obtain a = 0.0598, b = 0.0491, c = 1.40. It turns out that the value of the parameter a = η_{max}(∞) is the same as the most accurate estimations of the position of the critical point in the 2D BoseHubbard model^{16,20,21}.
Furthermore, we observe that if we fix the system size and vary temperature, then the position of the maximum of ∂_{η}Var approaches the critical point when T → 0 (Fig. 3). Moreover, we observe that ∂_{η}Var at the maximum grows with both the system size (Fig. 2) and the inverse of the temperature (Fig. 3).
Therefore, it is interesting to ask whether the studied maximum is in fact the singularity that is rounded off and shifted away from the critical point by finitesize effects. To investigate it, we fit ∂_{η}Var(η_{max}) with
getting , , (Fig. 2c). Taking the limit of M → ∞, we find that instead of a singularity there is a maximum of ∂_{η}Var in the thermodynamic limit.
Hunting for a singularity, we compute getting the maximum and minimum near the critical point (Fig. 4a). The study of at the extrema through the fit (17) supports the conclusion that there is a singularity appearing in the thermodynamic limit (Fig. 4b and c). Indeed, for maximum (minimum) we get , , (, , ). This means that as M → ∞, we have at the extrema. Inbetween these extrema there is the point where , i.e., where the maximum of ∂_{η}Var is located. Thus, in the thermodynamic limit the divergent discontinuity of will be located at the same point as the maximum of ∂_{η}Var (if that wouldn’t be the case, then there would be two points where is nonanalytic, which would contradict presence of a single critical point in the system). This observation explains why the nonsingular in the thermodynamic limit maximum of ∂_{η}Var encodes the position of the critical point so accurately.
The extrapolated thermodynamiclimit singularity of implies the singularity of the third derivative of the groundstate energy (12), which agrees with the abovepresented discussion based on the scaling theory of phase transitions. It is worth to stress that it is so because the critical exponent −1 < α < 0. Such an exponent can be directly experimentally measured near the lambda transition in liquid ^{4}He, which also belongs to the universality class of the classical 3D XY model (see e.g. ref. 30 reporting the outcome of an experiment done in a Space Shuttle to eliminate the influence of gravity on the transition). On the theoretical side, one can obtain this exponent through the hyperscaling relation linking it to more commonly studied critical exponents^{41}
where ν is the exponent providing algebraic divergence of the correlation length, z is the dynamical exponent relating the excitation gap to the inverse correlation length, and d is the dimensionality of the quantum system. In our system d = 2 and z = 1 and so for . Since the critical exponent ν is nearly 2/3 in the 2D BoseHubbard model, its accurate determination is needed to find out whether α is a little bit smaller or greater than zero. Had the latter possibility been realized, the second derivative of the groundstate energy (the first derivative of either variance or nearestneighbor correlation function) would have been divergent.
Finally, we mention that the standard expectation coming from the finitesize scaling theory is that thermodynamiclimit singularities are rounded off and shifted away from the critical point by the distance ~M^{−ϕ/d}, where ϕ is an integer multiple of 1/ν (see refs 42 and 43). Fitting the position of the maximum (minimum) of with (16), we obtain a = 0.0596, b = −0.542, c = 2.74 (a = 0.0598, b = 0.0788, c = 1.30). Thus, we see that the fitting parameter c roughly matches integer multiples of 1/ν ≈ 1.49 in the 2D BoseHubbard model^{29,30}. The same conclusion applies to the finitesize scaling of the position of the maximum of ∂_{η}Var; see the fitting results right below (16). Simulations of larger system sizes are needed for making conclusive predictions about the relation between c and 1/ν.
Discussion
We have shown that derivatives of the nearestneighbor correlation function and the variance of onsite atom number operator can be used as an efficient and experimentallyrelevant probe of the location of the critical point of the 2D BoseHubbard model.
Similar calculations can be performed for the 3D BoseHubbard model, where z = 1 and ν = 1/2 (see ref. 4). Using equation (18) one then finds that α = 0. Therefore, based on the discussion from the Results section, we expect that the second derivative of the groundstate energy as well as the first derivative of nearestneighbor correlation function and the variance of the onsite atom number operator will be divergent at the critical point of this model. This conclusion applies to the thermodynamicallylarge zerotemperature system, while in the finitesize system we expect to find an extremum of these observables near the critical point just as in the 2D BoseHubbard model.
Interestingly, in the 1D quantum Ising model in the transverse field, where z = ν = 1, α = 0 as well. In this model a closedform expression for the groundstate energy is known^{40} and one can check that indeed the second derivative of the groundstate energy is divergent at the critical point of this model.
Furthermore, we would like to mention that it is unclear at the moment whether one can extract the position of the critical point of the 1D BoseHubbard model in a similar way. The problem is that such a model undergoes a BerezinskiiKosterlitzThouless (BKT) transition^{4}, where the singularities associated with the critical point are not algebraic but exponential in the distance from the critical point^{44}. As a result, the above discussion of the singularity of the groundstate energy based on the exponent α is not readily applicable as it assumes that the divergence of the correlation length is algebraic ~t^{−ν}, where again t is the distance from the critical point.
Finally, we would like to mention that the discussion from the Results section can be straightforwardly extended to Hubbardlike models undergoing a regular, i.e. not a BKTtype, transition. Different such models can be studied with cold atoms in optical lattices and one can consider not only bosonic but also fermionic systems^{1,3}. For example, suppose that the Hamiltonian of some Hubbardlike model contains the nearestneighbor tunnelling term such as (1). One can argue then that some derivative of the nearestneighbor correlation function with respect to the tunnelling parameter J should be divergent if the change of J induces a quantum phase transition. Such a statement should be correct regardless of the specific form of the interaction part of the Hamiltonian, which can contain other than onsite terms. This observation should be useful in both theoretical and experimental studies of the location of the critical point in ubiquitous Hubbardlike models.
Methods
We use the Directed Worm Algorithm from the ALPS software package^{37,38}. To evaluate thermodynamical averages, the algorithm samples the space of “worldlines” allowing for the change of the total number of particles. To efficiently evaluate the canonical ensemble averages, the chemical potential is adjusted to yield a unit density in the grand canonical ensemble, thereby maximizing the total number of samples corresponding to the desired average filling factor. In the end, only the “worldlines” with the number of atoms equal to the number of lattice sites are averaged to yield the results presented in Figs 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Additional Information
How to cite this article: Łącki, M. et al. Locating the quantum critical point of the BoseHubbard model through singularities of simple observables. Sci. Rep. 6, 38340; doi: 10.1038/srep38340 (2016).
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Acknowledgements
M.Ł. was supported by Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) and the ERC Synergy Grant UQUAM. B.D. was supported by the Polish National Science Centre project DEC2013/09/B/ST3/00239. J.Z. was supported by the Polish National Science Centre project DEC2015/19/B/ST2/01028. Partial support by PLGrid Infrastructure and EU via project QUIC (H2020FETPROACT2014 No. 641122) is also acknowledged.
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M.Ł., B.D., and J.Z. contributed to the research described in this manuscript and to its preparation.
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Łącki, M., Damski, B. & Zakrzewski, J. Locating the quantum critical point of the BoseHubbard model through singularities of simple observables. Sci Rep 6, 38340 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep38340
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