Synthetic Spin-Orbit Coupling in an Optical Lattice Clock.

27 Mar 2018

We propose the use of optical lattice clocks operated with fermionic alkaline-earth atoms to study spin-orbit coupling (SOC) in interacting many-body systems. The SOC emerges naturally during the clock interrogation, when atoms are allowed to tunnel and accumulate a phase set by the ratio of the "magic" lattice wavelength to the clock transition wavelength. We demonstrate how standard protocols such as Rabi and Ramsey spectroscopy that take advantage of the sub-Hertz resolution of state-of-the-art clock lasers can perform momentum-resolved band tomography and determine SOC-induced s-wave collisions in nuclear-spin-polarized fermions. With the use of a second counterpropagating clock beam, we propose a method for engineering controlled atomic transport and study how it is modified by p- and s-wave interactions. The proposed spectroscopic probes provide clean and well-resolved signatures at current clock operating temperatures.