The University of Iowa
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
                                      Department of Physics and Astronomy                                         

29::105 Special Topics in Physics

                                                Recent Progress in Optical Lattices

                                                             Fall  Semester 2012

Instructor: Prof. Yannick Meurice


Prof. Yannick Meurice


The students are assumed to be familiar with quantum mechanics at an undergraduate level


Foot, C. J., Atomic physics, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Immanuel Bloch, Jean Dalibard, and Wilhelm Zwerger, Many-body physics with ultracold gases, RPM 80 885–964 (2008),

J. Kogut, The lattice gauge theory approach to quantum chromodynamics, Rev. Mod. Phys. 55, 775–836 (1983)

M. Lewenstein, A. Sanpera and V. Ahufinger, Ultracold atoms in optical lattices: simulating quantum many-body systems, Oxford University Press, 2012.

Course Content

This is a reading course on recent progress in atomic physics with possible application in quantum computation.
The last two decades have witnessed spectacular progress in Atomic Physics. The Nobel Prize
in Physics 1997 was awarded “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light”,
and in 2001 “for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms,
and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates”. More recently, it has been
shown experimentally that by trapping cold polarizable atoms in periodic potentials created by
crossed laser beams, it is possible to create systems mimicking lattice models studied by theoretical
physicists. Experimentalists have successfully engineered local and nearest-neighbor interactions
that approximately recreate Hubbard-like models used in the study of superconductivity. The
possibility of realizing models with local gauge invariance such as the models considered by lattice
gauge theorists to describe the strong interactions of quarks and gluons is also being investigated.
This reading class will provide an introduction to these recent
developments;  The course has three parts:

1. Models of interest

• Classical spin  and gauge models
• Hubbard models
• Quantum Heisenberg models

2. Atomic physics of Alkalis

• Review of the atomic shell model; atomic spectroscopy
• Interactions of atoms with radiations
• Laser cooling and trapping

3. Recent progress in optical lattices

• Experimental setup
• Introduction to quantum computing
• Realizations of lattice models used in condensed matter and particle physics

Required work

The student are expected to complete weekly reading assignments, make presentations and participate in discussions.

Final Grade

The course will graded on a S/U basis. Students completing the required work (see above) will be given an S.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Policies and Procedures

Administrative Home
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the administrative home of this course and governs matters such as the add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, and other related issues. Different colleges may have different policies. Questions may be addressed to 120 Schaeffer Hall or see the CLAS Academic Handbook.



Electronic Communication
University policy specifies that students are responsible for all official correspondences sent to their standard University of Iowa e-mail address ( Students should check their account frequently. (Operations Manual, III.II.15. 2. k.11.)

Academic Fraud
Plagiarism and any other activities when students present work that is not their own are academic fraud and are considered by the College to be a very serious matter. Academic fraud is reported by the instructor to the departmental DEO who enforces the departmental consequences. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum is also informed. The Associate Dean enforces collegiate consequences which may included suspension or expulsion. See the CLAS Academic Handbook.

Making a Suggestion or a Complaint
Students with a suggestion or complaint should first visit the instructor, then the course supervisor and the departmental Associate chair. Paul Kleiber. Complaints must be made within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Academic Handbook.  

Accommodations for Disabilities
A student seeking academic accommodations should register with Student Disability Services and meet privately with the course instructor to make particular arrangements. For more information, visit this site.

Understanding Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See the UI Comprehensive Guide on Sexual Harassment at for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy.

Reacting Safely to Severe Weather
In severe weather, the class members should seek shelter in the innermost part of the building, if possible at the lowest level, staying clear of windows and free-standing expanses. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. (Operations Manual, IV. 16.14. Scroll down to sections e and i for severe weather information.)

*The CLAS policy statements have been summarized from the web pages of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.