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Journal Article

Hofstadter butterfly in a cavity-induced dynamic synthetic magnetic field


Piazza,  Francesco
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Colella, E., Mivehvar, F., Piazza, F., & Ritsch, H. (2019). Hofstadter butterfly in a cavity-induced dynamic synthetic magnetic field. Physical Review B, 100(22): 224306. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.100.224306.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-E008-5
Energy bands of electrons in a square lattice potential threaded by a uniform magnetic field exhibit a fractal structure known as the Hofstadter butterfly. Here we study a Fermi gas in a 2D optical lattice within a linear cavity with a tilt along the cavity axis. The hopping along the cavity axis is only induced by resonant Raman scattering of transverse pump light into a standing-wave-cavity mode. Choosing a suitable pump geometry allows us to realize the Hofstadter-Harper model with a cavity-induced dynamical synthetic magnetic field, which appears at the onset of the superradiant phase transition. The dynamical nature of this cavity-induced synthetic magnetic field arises from the delicate interplay between collective superradiant scattering and the underlying fractal band structure. Using a sixth-order expansion of the free energy as a function of the order parameter and by numerical simulations, we show that at low magnetic fluxes the superradiant ordering phase transition is first order, while it becomes second order for higher flux. The dynamic nature of the magnetic field induces a nontrivial deformation of the Hofstadter butterfly in the superradiant phase. At strong pump far above the self-ordering threshold, we recover the Hofstadter butterfly one would obtain in a static magnetic field.