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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 May 25;108(21):215302. Epub 2012 May 25.

Preparation and spectroscopy of a metastable Mott-insulator state with attractive interactions.

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Institut für Experimentalphysik und Zentrum für Quantenphysik, Universität Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


We prepare and study a metastable attractive Mott-insulator state formed with bosonic atoms in a three-dimensional optical lattice. Starting from a Mott insulator with Cs atoms at weak repulsive interactions, we use a magnetic Feshbach resonance to tune the interactions to large attractive values and produce a metastable state pinned by attractive interactions with a lifetime on the order of 10 s. We probe the (de)excitation spectrum via lattice modulation spectroscopy, measuring the interaction dependence of two- and three-body bound-state energies. As a result of increased on-site three-body loss we observe resonance broadening and suppression of tunneling processes that produce three-body occupation.

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