Tomography of Band Insulators from Quench Dynamics


We propose a simple scheme for tomography of band-insulating states in one- and two-dimensional optical lattices with two sublattice states. In particular, the scheme maps out the Berry curvature in the entire Brillouin zone and extracts topological invariants such as the Chern number. The measurement relies on observing—via time-of-flight imaging—the time evolution of the momentum distribution following a sudden quench in the band structure. We consider two examples of experimental relevance: the Harper model with π flux and the Haldane model on a honeycomb lattice. Moreover, we illustrate the performance of the scheme in the presence of a parabolic trap, noise, and finite measurement resolution.

Physical Review Letters 113, 045303
Published 23 July 2014