Colloquium: Artificial gauge potentials for neutral atoms

Jean Dalibard, Fabrice Gerbier, Gediminas Juzeliunas, Patrik Ohberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1601 Citations (Scopus)


When a neutral atom moves in a properly designed laser field, its center-of-mass motion may mimic the dynamics of a charged particle in a magnetic field, with the emergence of a Lorentz-like force. In this Colloquium the physical principles at the basis of this artificial (synthetic) magnetism are presented. The corresponding Aharonov-Bohm phase is related to the Berry's phase that emerges when the atom adiabatically follows one of the dressed states of the atom-laser interaction. Some manifestations of artificial magnetism for a cold quantum gas, in particular, in terms of vortex nucleation are discussed. The analysis is then generalized to the simulation of non-Abelian gauge potentials and some striking consequences are presented, such as the emergence of an effective spin-orbit coupling. Both the cases of bulk gases and discrete systems, where atoms are trapped in an optical lattice, are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523–1543
Number of pages21
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2011


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