Thursday, January 19, 2012

Observation of Correlated Particle-Hole Pairs and String Order in Low-Dimensional Mott Insulators

M. Endres, M. Cheneau, T. Fukuhara, C. Weitenberg, P. Schauß, C. Gross, L. Mazza, M. C. Bañuls, L. Pollet, I. Bloch, S. Kuhr

Quantum phases of matter are characterized by the underlying correlations of the many-body system. Although this is typically captured by a local order parameter, it has been shown that a broad class of many-body systems possesses a hidden nonlocal order. In the case of bosonic Mott insulators, the ground state properties are governed by quantum fluctuations in the form of correlated particle-hole pairs that lead to the emergence of a nonlocal string order in one dimension. By using high-resolution imaging of low-dimensional quantum gases in an optical lattice, we directly detect these pairs with single-site and single-particle sensitivity and observe string order in the one-dimensional case.