Dimensional crossover and cold-atom realization of topological Mott insulators

Mathias S. Scheurer, Stephan Rachel, Peter P. Orth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Interacting cold-atomic gases in optical lattices offer an experimental approach to outstanding problems of many body physics. One important example is the interplay of interaction and topology which promises to generate a variety of exotic phases such as the fractionalized Chern insulator or the topological Mott insulator. Both theoretically understanding these states of matter and finding suitable systems that host them have proven to be challenging problems. Here we propose a cold-atom setup where Hubbard on-site interactions give rise to spin liquid-like phases: weak and strong topological Mott insulators. They represent the celebrated paradigm of an interacting and topological quantum state with fractionalized spinon excitations that inherit the topology of the non-interacting system. Our proposal shall help to pave the way for a controlled experimental investigation of this exotic state of matter in optical lattices. Furthermore, it allows for the investigation of a dimensional crossover from a two-dimensional quantum spin Hall insulating phase to a three-dimensional strong topological insulator by tuning the hopping between the layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8386
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Feb 11 2015

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