Alkaline Earth Atoms: A New Perspective in Quantum Simulations and Precision Measurements
Fermionic alkaline-earth atoms (AEA) have unique properties that make them attractive candidates for the realization of novel atomic clocks. At the same time, they are attracting considerable attention in the context of quantum simulations. Even though the construction of a quantum computer and of an atomic clock might not seem to have much in common, in this talk I will show there are close ties linking them. On the quantum simulation perspective I will discuss our proposal of using AEA to emulate spin models with an unprecedented degree of symmetry, characterized by the SU(N) group with N as large as 10, as well as iconic condensed matter models which rely on the interplay between spin and orbital degrees of freedom. I will also discuss how the exquisite measurement precision of modern optical clocks can be used to probe a strongly interacting quantum many-body system and to characterize its interaction parameters and decoherence rates. Such knowledge can further be used to push AEA optical clocks towards the forefront of precision metrology.