Synthetic helical liquids with ultracold atoms in optical lattices

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J. C. Budich, C. Laflamme, F. Tschirsich, S. Montangero, P. Zoller


Phys. Rev. B 92, 245121 (2015)

We discuss a platform for the synthetic realization of key physical properties of helical Tomonaga Luttinger liquids (HTLLs) with ultracold fermionic atoms in one-dimensional optical lattices. The HTLL is a strongly correlated metallic state where spin polarization and propagation direction of the itinerant particles are locked to each other. We propose an unconventional one-dimensional Fermi-Hubbard model which, at quarter filling, resembles the HTLL in the long wavelength limit, as we demonstrate with a combination of analytical (bosonization) and numerical (density matrix renormalization group) methods. An experimentally feasible scheme is provided for the realization of this model with ultracold fermionic atoms in optical lattices. Finally, we discuss how the robustness of the HTLL against backscattering and imperfections, well known from its realization at the edge of two-dimensional topological insulators, is reflected in the synthetic one-dimensional scenario proposed here.