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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Feb 22;100(7):070402. Epub 2008 Feb 19.

Trapped Fermi gases in rotating optical lattices: realization and detection of the topological hofstadter insulator.

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Department of Physics, Bilkent University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey.


We consider a gas of noninteracting spinless fermions in a rotating optical lattice and calculate the density profile of the gas in an external confinement potential. The density profile exhibits distinct plateaus, which correspond to gaps in the single particle spectrum known as the Hofstadter butterfly. The plateaus result from insulating behavior whenever the Fermi energy lies within a gap. We discuss the necessary conditions to realize the Hofstadter insulator in a cold atom setup and show how the quantized Hall conductance can be measured from density profiles using the Streda formula.

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