This project consists in creating and studying complex states of quantum matter using ultracold dysprosium atoms. The complex electronic structure of this atom should allow one to explore novel physical behaviors, based on the large magnetic moment and/or on narrow optical transitions.
In the electronic ground state, the atoms exhibit a large magnetic moment of 10 Bohr magnetons, which leads to large amplitude dipole-dipole interactions, characterized by a long range and an anisotropic character. Such a system could host interesting phases of matter, such as dipolar droplets, quantum liquid crystals, or topological states of matter.
Dysprosium atoms also exhibit a rich structure of excited electronic states with narrow optical transitions. Optical dipole traps operated close to a narrow optical transition should be strongly spin dependent, which can lead to the generation of complex potential landscapes, such as short-spacing optical lattices, or artificial gauge fields. We are interested in exploring a new kind of superfluidity with spin-orbit coupled Fermi gases, with topological character. The topology manifests itself by the presence of exotic edge states located at defects (e.g. sharp boundaries, vortices) and described as Majorana fermions.