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Proximity effects in cold atom artificial graphene

TitleProximity effects in cold atom artificial graphene
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsT. Grass, R. W. Chhajlany, L. Tarruell, V. Pellegrini, and M. Lewenstein
Journal2D Materials
Date Published12/2016

Cold atoms in an optical lattice with brick-wall geometry have been used to mimic graphene, a two-dimensional material with characteristic Dirac excitations. Here we propose to bring such artificial graphene into the proximity of a second atomic layer with a square lattice geometry. For non-interacting fermions, we find that such bilayer system undergoes a phase transition from a graphene-like semi-metal phase, characterized by a band structure with Dirac points, to a gapped band insulator phase. In the presence of attractive interactions between fermions with pseudospin-1/2 degree of freedom, a competition between semi-metal and superfluid behavior is found at the mean-field level. Using the quantum Monte Carlo method, we also investigate the case of strong repulsive interactions. In the Mott phase, each layer exhibits a different amount of long-range magnetic order. Upon coupling both layers, a valence-bond crystal is formed at a critical coupling strength. Finally, we discuss how these bilayer systems could be realized in existing cold atom experiments.