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Direct Imaging of Topological Edges States with Cold Atoms



Ian B. Spielman, Nathan Goldman, Jean Dalibard, Alexandre Dauphin, Maciej Lewenstein, Fabrice Gerbier, Peter Zoller


Detecting manifestation of topological order in cold-atom experiments is an outstanding challenge, the resolution of which offers novel perspectives on topological phases of matter. In material systems, unambiguous signatures of topological states have been observed in topological insulators and quantum Hall systems. In these systems, the quantized Hall conductivity and the associated robust propagating edge modes--guaranteed by the existence of non-trivial topological invariants--have been observed through transport and spectroscopy. Here, we show that optical-lattice based experiments can be tailored to directly visualize the propagation of topological edge states using standard density measurements. Our method is based on the unique possibility to initially shape the atomic gas, and to image its time-evolution after suddenly removing the shaping potentials. Our scheme, which can be applied to a wide family of atomic topological phases, provides the first method allowing to image the dynamics of topological edge modes, giving a direct access to their angular velocity and spin structure.
Nature Physics


cold atoms, edge states, quantum hall


Spielman, I. , Goldman, N. , Dalibard, J. , Dauphin, A. , Lewenstein, M. , Gerbier, F. and Zoller, P. (2013), Direct Imaging of Topological Edges States with Cold Atoms, Nature Physics, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created March 7, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018