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Quantum Hall Physics in 4D

München, 01/04/2018

Researchers from LMU and MPQ implement a dynamical version of the 4D quantum Hall effect with ultracold atoms in an optical superlattice potential.

Illustration of a hypothetical device for studying the quantum Hall effect in 4D systems. (Graphic: LMU/MPQ)

In physics the possibility that our universe comprises more than three spatial dimensions was first proposed in the wake of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity in the 1920s. Modern string theory – trying to reconcile Einstein’s ideas with the laws of quantum mechanics – even postulates up to 10 dimensions. In a completely different context, an international team of researchers led by Professor Immanuel Bloch, Chair of Quantum Optics at LMU Munich and Director at MPQ, and Professor Oded Zilberberg, ETH Zürich, has now demonstrated a way to observe physical phenomena proposed to exist in higher-dimensional systems in analogous real-world experiments. Using ultracold atoms trapped in a periodically modulated two-dimensional superlattice potential, the scientists could observe a dynamical version of a novel type of quantum Hall effect that is predicted to occur in four-dimensional systems. (Nature, 4 January 2018), (MPQ/LMU)

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