Prof. Vincent Liu
Department of Physics, University of Pittsburgh, PA
Since the 1995 observation of Bose-Einstein condensation, the field of ultracold gases has advanced dramatically, driven to a large extent by rapid development of experimental techniques. Among them, the use of interfering laser beams to form periodic potentials, now widely known as optical lattices, has significantly impacted on the landscape of condensed matter research. In this talk, I will discuss some of the most exciting progresses in two different angles. One is the remarkable success in using optical lattices to model important problems in condensed matter physics, including Mott insulator-superfluid quantum phase transition realized with bosonic atoms, spin-1/2 fermion Hubbard model for exploring antiferromagnetic order and possible d-wave superconductivity, etc. Another is the reach of conceptually new regimes of many-body physics by implementing novel lattice geometries (checkerboard, hexagonal, and double-well). This leads to the unprecedented control of population of atoms, especially bosons, in the higher orbital bands and opens an avenue towards studying orbital-related topological or correlated phases of matter that have no prior analogues in electronic solids.