Prof. Peter Engels,
Washington State University
The simulation of condensed matter Hamiltonians using ultracold quantum gases has emerged as a highly active field of research. In this context the generation of artificial gauge fields is a powerful tool allowing the study of charged particle physics with neutral atoms. In our lab at WSU we have implemented a Raman dressing scheme realizing an artificial gauge potential and spin-orbit coupling for a BEC. Spin-orbit coupled BECs display intriguingly rich physics. Examples of these include parallels to the Zitterbewegung of free electrons predicted by the Dirac equation, the presence of a Dicke-type phase transition, and, when combined with an optical lattice, interesting bandstructures that we have probed in our experiments. In this talk I will highlight the underlying ideas of spin-orbit coupled BECs as well as recent results of our ongoing investigations.