Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Going Deep and Going Broad with Ultracold Atoms

Hui Zhai

The best way to learn a fundamental physics concept is to learn it through examples. For example, symmetry is one of the most important concepts in physics. Now, let us ask a number of questions. If you place an atom in a light field, whether a circular polarized light or a linearly polarized light can cause a Zeeman splitting between different magnetic levels of the atom? When you consider the collision between two spin-1 atoms, can you determine the general form of the two-body interaction potential without knowing the details? In a spin-orbit coupled Bose condensate, why some phase transitions are the first-order one and some phase transitions are the second-order one? Why the Dirac point in the single particle dispersion in the honeycomb lattice is stable against various perturbations? If you want to simulate the topological Haldane model by shaking an optical lattices, whether you should choose linearly shake or circularly shake the lattice? Why the phase diagram of the repulsive Fermi Hubbard model looks so similar as the phase diagram of the attractive Fermi Hubbard model? These questions cover a broad range of topics from single particle atomic physics to interacting Bose gas, and from atoms in free space to atoms in lattices. They are all very important issues in recent studies of ultracold atomic gases and they are all covered in my new book “Ultracold Atomic Physics”. At the first glance, these questions look completely uncorrelated. Nevertheless, the answer to all these questions all rely on a key common concept, that is, symmetry. That is why you will love this book. For general readers, you will learn the concept of symmetry through these concrete examples. For junior researchers working on ultracold atomic physics, not only you will learn all these phenomena in this book that are useful for your research, but also you will understand there is a deep physics reason and connection behind all these diverse phenomena, and with these examples, you can try to learn how to utilize the concept of symmetry to analyze new phenomena that you will encounter in your own research. Not only the concept of symmetry, many other fundamental concepts, such as universality, renormalization, order and topology, are all discussed in the same way.

The ultracold atomic physics has now emerged as an interdisciplinary research area between AMO physics and condensed matter physics. Ultracold atomic gases have now been used to study advanced research topics such as quantum thermalization, many-body localization, and to simulate strongly correlated models such as the Hubbard models. All these recent advances in the last few years are covered in this new book. Nevertheless, what enables these studies is basic AMO physics, such as the understanding of atom-light interaction and inter-atomic interactions. This traditional AMO physics knowledge is also selectively discussed in this book, with emphasis on the connection to the most recent advances. When you open the book, I hope these eight chapters will take you to an enjoyable journey over decades

Ultracold Atomic Physics

Author: Hui Zhai, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Hardback ISBN: 9781108498685

About The Author

Hui Zhai

Hui Zhai is Changjiang Chair Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Tsinghua University and his research is focused on ultracold atomic physics, condensed matter...

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