Preparing Atomic Topological Quantum Matter by Adiabatic Nonunitary Dynamics


S. Barbarino, J. Yu, P. Zoller, and J. C. Budich. 2020. “Preparing Atomic Topological Quantum Matter by Adiabatic Nonunitary Dynamics.” Physical Review Letters, 124.


Motivated by the outstanding challenge of realizing lowerature states of quantum matter in synthetic materials, we propose and study an experimentally feasible protocol for preparing topological states such as Chern insulators. By definition, such (nonsymmetry protected) topological phases cannot be attained without going through a phase transition in a closed system, largely preventing their preparation in coherent dynamics. To overcome this fundamental caveat, we propose to couple the target system to a conjugate system, so as to prepare a symmetry protected topological phase in an extended system by intermittently breaking the protecting symmetry. Finally, the decoupled conjugate system is discarded, thus projecting onto the desired topological state in the target system. By construction, this protocol may be immediately generalized to the class of invertible topological phases, characterized by the existence of an inverse topological order. We illustrate our findings with microscopic simulations on an experimentally realistic Chern insulator model of ultracold fermionic atoms in a driven spin-dependent hexagonal optical lattice.