Quantum simulation of a topological Mott insulator with Rydberg atoms in a Lieb lattice

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We propose a realistic scheme to quantum simulate the so-far experimentally unobserved topological Mott insulator phase-an interaction-driven topological insulator-using cold atoms in an optical Lieb lattice. To this end, we study a system of spinless fermions in a Lieb lattice, exhibiting repulsive nearest-and next-to-nearest-neighbor interactions and derive the associated zero-temperature phase diagram within mean-field approximation. In particular, we analyze how the interactions can dynamically generate a charge density wave ordered, a nematic, and a topologically nontrivial quantum anomalous Hall phase. We characterize the topology of the different phases by the Chern number and discuss the possibility of phase coexistence. Based on the identified phases, we propose a realistic implementation of this model using cold Rydberg-dressed atoms in an optical lattice. The scheme, which allows one to access, in particular, the topological Mott insulator phase, robustly and independently of its exact position in parameter space, merely requires global, always-on off-resonant laser coupling to Rydberg states and is feasible with state-of-the-art experimental techniques that have already been demonstrated in the laboratory.
©2016 American Physical Society. A.D. thanks N. Goldman and P. Gaspard for support and valuable discussions. We acknowledge support by the Spanish MINECO Grant No. FIS2012-33152, FIS2015-67411, the CAM research consortium QUITEMAD+ S2013/ICE-2801, F.R.S.-FNRS Belgium, EU grants OSYRIS (ERC-2013-AdG Grant No. 339106), EQuaM (FP7/2007-2013 Grant No. 323714, SIQS (FP7-ICT-2011-9 No. 600645), QUIC (H2020-FETPROACT-2014 No. 641122), Spanish MINECO grants (Severo Ochoa SEV-2015-0522 and FOQUS FIS2013-46768-P), Catalan AGAUR SGR 874, Fundacio Cellex, and the U.S. Army Research Office through Grant No. W911NF-14-1-0103.
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