Research Article

Time-Resolved Observation and Control of Superexchange Interactions with Ultracold Atoms in Optical Lattices

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Science  18 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5861, pp. 295-299
DOI: 10.1126/science.1150841

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Quantum mechanical superexchange interactions form the basis of quantum magnetism in strongly correlated electronic media. We report on the direct measurement of superexchange interactions with ultracold atoms in optical lattices. After preparing a spin-mixture of ultracold atoms in an antiferromagnetically ordered state, we measured coherent superexchange-mediated spin dynamics with coupling energies from 5 hertz up to 1 kilohertz. By dynamically modifying the potential bias between neighboring lattice sites, the magnitude and sign of the superexchange interaction can be controlled, thus allowing the system to be switched between antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic spin interactions. We compare our findings to predictions of a two-site Bose-Hubbard model and find very good agreement, but are also able to identify corrections that can be explained by the inclusion of direct nearest-neighbor interactions.

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