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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Sep 27;111(13):135302. Epub 2013 Sep 26.

Extracting the Chern number from the dynamics of a Fermi gas: implementing a quantum Hall bar for cold atoms.

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Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 231, Campus Plaine, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium and Departamento de Física Teórica I, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


We propose a scheme to measure the quantized Hall conductivity of an ultracold Fermi gas initially prepared in a topological Chern insulating phase and driven by a constant force. We show that the time evolution of the center of mass, after releasing the cloud, provides a direct and clear signature of the topologically invariant Chern number. We discuss the validity of this scheme, highlighting the importance of driving the system with a sufficiently strong force to displace the cloud over measurable distances while avoiding band-mixing effects. The unusual shapes of the driven atomic cloud are qualitatively discussed in terms of a semiclassical approach.

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