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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Sep 9;89(11):117203. Epub 2002 Aug 26.

Mott domains of bosons confined on optical lattices.

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  • 1Institut Non-Linéaire de Nice, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, 1361 route des Lucioles, 06560 Valbonne, France.


In the absence of a confining potential, the boson-Hubbard model exhibits a superfluid to Mott insulator quantum phase transition at commensurate fillings and strong coupling. We use quantum Monte Carlo simulations to study the ground state of the one-dimensional bosonic Hubbard model in a trap. Some, but not all, aspects of the Mott insulating phase persist. Mott behavior occurs for a continuous range of incommensurate fillings, very different from the unconfined case, and the establishment of the Mott phase does not proceed via a traditional quantum phase transition. These results have important implications for interpreting experiments on ultracold atoms on optical lattices.

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