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Chiral Mott insulator with staggered loop currents in the fully frustrated Bose-Hubbard model

American Physical Society
Publication Date
  • Physics
  • Physics


Motivated by experiments on Josephson junction arrays in a magnetic field and ultracold interacting atoms in an optical lattice in the presence of a ``synthetic'' orbital magnetic field, we study the ``fully frustrated'' Bose-Hubbard model and quantum XY model with half a flux quantum per lattice plaquette. Using Monte Carlo simulations and the density matrix renormalization group method, we show that these kinetically frustrated boson models admit three phases at integer filling: a weakly interacting chiral superfluid phase with staggered loop currents which spontaneously break time-reversal symmetry, a conventional Mott insulator at strong coupling, and a remarkable ``chiral Mott insulator'' (CMI) with staggered loop currents sandwiched between them at intermediate correlation. We discuss how the CMI state may be viewed as an exciton condensate or a vortex supersolid, study a Jastrow variational wave function which captures its correlations, present results for the boson momentum distribution across the phase diagram, and consider various experimental implications of our phase diagram. Finally, we consider generalizations to a staggered flux Bose-Hubbard model and a two-dimensional (2D) version of the CMI in weakly coupled ladders.

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