Short-Range Quantum Magnetism of Ultracold Fermions in an Optical Lattice

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Science  23 May 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1236362

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Quantum magnetism originates from the exchange coupling between quantum-mechanical spins. We report on the observation of nearest-neighbor magnetic correlations emerging in the many-body state of a thermalized Fermi gas in an optical lattice. Key to obtaining short-range magnetic order is a local redistribution of entropy, allowing for temperatures below the exchange energy for a subset of lattice bonds. When loading a repulsively interacting gas into either dimerized or anisotropic simple cubic configurations of a tunable-geometry lattice we observe an excess of singlets as compared to triplets consisting of two opposite spins. For the anisotropic lattice, the transverse spin correlator reveals antiferromagnetic correlations along one spatial axis. Our work facilitates addressing open problems in quantum magnetism using quantum simulation.

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