Quantum Simulation of the Bose-Hubbard Model with Ultracold Atoms in Triangular Optical Superlattices
Quantum simulation is the study of one quantum mechanical system via analog with another. In this thesis we explore a simple model of interacting bosons on a lattice, known as the Bose-Hubbard model, by experimental investigation of ultracold rubidium atoms in an optical lattice made from laser light.
We describe the construction and stabilization of an optical superlattice with threefold symmetry, and its use in studying the Bose-Hubbard model on triangular and trimerized kagome lattices. We study the short range phase coherence of a Mott insulator on the triangular lattice, and develop a scheme to mitigate out-of-equilibrium effects arising from the state preparation. We show the first experimental realization of an optical trimerized kagome lattice for cold atoms, and discuss experiments characterizing this lattice. Finally, we provide evidence for a Mott insulating state with fractional average particle number per site with measurements of the nearest-neighbor phase coherence of strongly interacting atoms in the trimerized kagome lattice.