Friday, May 31, 2013

1305.7054 (Jin-Yi Zhang et al.)

Experimental Determination of the Finite-Temperature Phase Diagram of a
Spin-Orbit Coupled Bose Gas

Jin-Yi Zhang, Si-Cong Ji, Long Zhang, Zhi-Dong Du, Wei Zheng, You-Jin Deng, Hui Zhai, Shuai Chen, Jian-Wei Pan
Spin-orbit (SO) coupling has led to numerously exciting phenomena in electron systems, for instance, the recently discovered topological insulator. The synthesized SO coupling with ultracold neutral atoms opens a new avenue of quantum simulation, and gives us an opportunity to study SO coupling in bosonic systems. Indeed, SO coupling leads to many new phenomena of boson superfluidity and various condensate phases that spontaneously break different symmetries. A richer structure of symmetry breaking always results in a nontrivial finite-temperature phase diagram. While the thermodynamics of the SO coupled Bose gas at finite temperature is still unknown either in theory or experiment. In this work, we experimentally generate the SO coupling in ultracold Rb-87 gas to explore in a large temperature range and get most key features. We discover a novel phase transition between the stripe ordered phase and the magnetized phase, which is reminiscent of temperature-driven transition from the B phase to the A phase in super- fluid Helium-3 and from spin-density-wave to spin nematic transition in iron pnictide. We also observe that the magnetic phase transition and the Bose condensate transition occur simultaneously as temperature decreases. Our work determines the entire finite-temperature phase diagram of SO coupled Bose gas and further demonstrate the power of quantum simulation.
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