24 May 2023

Quantum simulation: chiral spin liquids and non-Abelian anyons

Chiral spin liquids are one of the most fascinating phases of matter. These exotic liquids exhibit quasi-particle excitations known as non-Abelian anyons that are neither bosons nor fermions, whose manipulation could allow for the realization of a universal quantum computer. Despite intense efforts in condensed matter physics, discovering such a phase in nature remains an outstanding challenge at the forefront of modern research. A new study in the scientific journal PRX Quantum, involving LMU professor and MCQST RU-G co-coordinator Monika Aidelsburger now proposes a method to experimentally study this phase of matter in a quantum simulator.

A new path towards the first experimental realization of the Kitaev model

From a theoretical point of view, chiral spin liquids emerge in a simple model that was imagined by Kitaev in 2006, and which allows to reveal their properties using analytical tools. Remarkably, recent advances in the design of quantum simulators open a possible path for the first experimental realization of the original Kitaev model, hence suggesting that chiral spin liquids (including their exotic quasi-particles) can be studied and manipulated in a highly-controlled experimental environment.

The authors describe practical methods to probe the striking properties of these exotic states. In particular, their methods unambiguously reveal the topological heat current that flows on the edge of the system: a hallmark signature of the non-Abelian anyons that emerge on the edge of chiral spin liquids.
Their work paves the way for the quantum simulation of chiral spin liquids, offering an appealing alternative to their experimental investigation in quantum materials.

This international collaboration was supported by the FRS-FNRS (Belgium), the EOS program (CHEQS project), the ERC (TopoCold and LATIS projects), by the German Research Foundation (DFG) via Research Unit FOR 2414 under project number 277974659 and under Germany's Excellence Strategy -- EXC-2111-390814868, by the European Research Executive Agency via the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 890711, and by the China Scholarship Council and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 12204399).

Source: adapted from the LMU website.


Engineering and Probing Non-Abelian Chiral Spin Liquids Using Periodically Driven Ultracold Atoms
B.-Y. Sun, N. Goldman, M. Aidelsburger, and M. Bukov
PRX Quantum 4 (2023)
DOI: 10.1103/PRXQuantum.4.020329


Monika Aidelsburger
Synthetic Quantum Matter Group
Faculty of Physics, LMU Munich

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