A disordered insulator in an optical lattice

M. Pasienski, D. McKay, M. White, B. Demarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disorder can profoundly affect the transport properties of a wide range of quantum materials. At present, significant disagreement exists regarding features of the disordered Bose- Hubbard model, which is used to study disorder in strongly correlated bosonic systems 1,2 . Here, by measuring transport 3 in a disordered optical lattice4, we discover a disorderinduced superfluid-to-insulator transition in this system, in quantitative agreement with a predicted superfluid-Boseglass transition from recent numerical simulations 5 . Both the superfluid-to-insulator transition and correlated changes in the atomic quasimomentum distribution-which verify a simple model for the interplay of disorder and interactions in this system-are phenomena new to the unit-filling regime explored in this work. We find that increasing disorder strength generically leads to greater dissipation, excluding predictions of a disorder-induced or 're-entrant' superfluid. Whereas the absence of a re-entrant superfluid may be explained by finite temperature, the measured bounds on entropy strongly constrain theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-680
Number of pages4
JournalNature Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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