Experimental reconstruction of the Berry curvature in a Floquet Bloch band

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Science  27 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6289, pp. 1091-1094
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4568

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Cold atoms do geometry

Electrons in solids populate energy bands, which can be simulated in cold atom systems using optical lattices. The geometry of the corresponding wave functions determines the topological properties of the system, but getting a direct look is tricky. Fläschner et al. and Li et al. measured the detailed structure of the band wave functions in hexagonal optical lattices, one resembling a boron-nitride and the other a graphene lattice. These techniques will make it possible to explore more complex situations that include the effects of interactions.

Science, this issue pp. 1091 and 1094


Topological properties lie at the heart of many fascinating phenomena in solid-state systems such as quantum Hall systems or Chern insulators. The topology of the bands can be captured by the distribution of Berry curvature, which describes the geometry of the eigenstates across the Brillouin zone. Using fermionic ultracold atoms in a hexagonal optical lattice, we engineered the Berry curvature of the Bloch bands using resonant driving and show a full momentum-resolved measurement of the ensuing Berry curvature. Our results pave the way to explore intriguing phases of matter with interactions in topological band structures.

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