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Quantum Gases in Synthetic Gauge Fields

A charged quantum system often exhibits unusual phenomena when subjected to high magnetic fields. Well-known examples are the integer and fractional quantum Hall effects discovered in two-dimensional electron gases. Although atoms are neutral and do not couple to real electromagnetic fields, various methods can create an effective magnetic field, for instance by fast rotation. There have also been proposals to generate synthetic gauge fields for atoms using atom- light interaction (including non-abelian gauge potentials).

Very recently, a pioneering experiment at NIST has successfully implemented the latter scheme to generate many vortices in a Rubidium-87 Bose-Einstein condensate. This method potentially can create a sufficiently large magnetic field to generate quantum Hall states, including those with exotic non-abelian anyon excitations, which are of great interests to topological quantum computation. With this method, one can in principle study a wide range of ultra-high field phenomena not accessible by real magnetic fields in solid-state materials. Many novel quantum phenomena are expected to emerge in this regime. The properties of quantum many-body systems in such gauge fields are completely unexplored and will surely lead to many fascinating phenomena.

This workshop will be tied closely to the latest experimental developments in this direction and will focus on opportunities and challenges in both theory and experiment. The topics will include (but not limited to): efficient and practical schemes to generate synthetic gauge fields; novel properties of Bose-Einstein condensates or Fermi gases in abelian / non-abelian gauge fields; quantum Hall physics in degenerate quantum gases; interference phenomena in optical lattices and in large magnetic fields.

This workshop is organized by Alexander Fetter (Stanford), Tin-Lun (Jason) Ho (Ohio-State) and Hui Zhai (Tsinghua), hosted by Institute for Advanced Study at Tsinghua University. It will be held on Aug 25-27 (2010) inside the campus of Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.