We demonstrate how to create artificial external non-Abelian gauge potentials acting on cold atoms in optical lattices. The method employs atoms with k internal states, and laser assisted state sensitive tunneling, described by unitary k×k matrices. The single-particle dynamics in the case of intense U(2) vector potentials lead to a generalized Hofstadter butterfly spectrum which shows a complex mothlike structure. We discuss the possibility to realize non-Abelian interferometry (Aharonov-Bohm effect) and to study many-body dynamics of ultracold matter in external lattice gauge fields. © 2005 The American Physical Society.
|Journal||Physical Review Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 2005|