Spin-Orbit-Driven Transitions between Mott Insulators and Finite-Momentum Superfluids of Bosons in Optical Lattices
Scarola, V. W.
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Synthetic spin-orbit coupling in ultracold atomic gases can be taken to extremes rarely found in solids. We study a two-dimensional Hubbard model of bosons in an optical lattice in the presence of spin-orbit coupling strong enough to drive direct transitions from Mott insulators to superfluids. Here we find phase-modulated superfluids with finite momentum that are generated entirely by spin-orbit coupling. We investigate the rich phase patterns of the superfluids, which may be directly probed using time-of-flight imaging of the spin-dependent momentum distribution.