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Trapped fermions in a synthetic non-Abelian gauge field

Ghosh, Sudeep Kumar and Vyasanakere, Jayantha P and Shenoy, Vijay B (2011) Trapped fermions in a synthetic non-Abelian gauge field. In: Physical Review A, 84 (5).

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Official URL: http://pra.aps.org/abstract/PRA/v84/i5/e053629


On increasing the coupling strength (lambda) of a non-Abelian gauge field that induces a generalized Rashba spin-orbit interaction, the topology of the Fermi surface of a homogeneous gas of noninteracting fermions of density rho similar to k(F)(3) undergoes a change at a critical value, lambda(T) approximate to k(F) [Phys. Rev. B 84, 014512 ( 2011)]. In this paper we analyze how this phenomenon affects the size and shape of a cloud of spin-1/2 fermions trapped in a harmonic potential such as those used in cold atom experiments. We develop an adiabatic formulation, including the concomitant Pancharatnam-Berry phase effects, for the one-particle states in the presence of a trapping potential and the gauge field, obtaining approximate analytical formulas for the energy levels for some high symmetry gauge field configurations of interest. An analysis based on the local density approximation reveals that, for a given number of particles, the cloud shrinks in a characteristic fashion with increasing.. We explain the physical origins of this effect by a study of the stress tensor of the system. For an isotropic harmonic trap, the local density approximation predicts a spherical cloud even for anisotropic gauge field configurations. We show, via a calculation of the cloud shape using exact eigenstates, that for certain gauge field configurations there is a systematic and observable anisotropy in the cloud shape that increases with increasing gauge coupling lambda. The reasons for this anisotropy are explained using the analytical energy levels obtained via the adiabatic approximation. These results should be useful in the design of cold atom experiments with fermions in non-Abelian gauge fields. An important spin-off of our adiabatic formulation is that it reveals exciting possibilities for the cold-atom realization of interesting condensed matter Hamiltonians by using a non-Abelian gauge field in conjunction with another potential. In particular, we show that the use of a spherical non-Abelian gauge field with a harmonic trapping potential produces a monopole field giving rise to a spherical geometry quantum Hall-like Hamiltonian in the momentum representation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Physical Review A
Publisher: The American Physical Society
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to The American Physical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2011 11:38
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2011 11:38
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/42846

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