Recent experiments have demonstrated that it is possible to create a synthetic magnetic field for neutral atoms in optical lattices using two-photon (Raman) processes. Motivated by exploring the interplay of such artificial magnetic fields and strong correlations for bosons, we have studied the Bose Hubbard model in the presence of pi-flux per plaquette. Using a variety of techniques, this model is shown to support a remarkable chiral Mott insulator phase on a 2-leg ladder. This state is a fully gapped insulator with staggered loop currents. We discuss physical insights as well experimental signatures of such a state for cold atoms as well as for Josephson junction arrays in a magnetic field.


Talk Number PIRSA:12050036
Speaker Profile Arun Paramekanti