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Physics  2015 

Geometry of Bloch states probed by Stückelberg interferometry

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Inspired by recent experiments with cold atoms in optical lattices, we consider a St\"uckelberg interferometer for a particle performing Bloch oscillations in a tight-binding model on the honeycomb lattice. The interferometer is made of two avoided crossings at the saddle points of the band structure (i.e. at M points of the reciprocal space). This problem is reminiscent of the double Dirac cone St\"uckelberg interferometer that was recently studied in the continuum limit [Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 155302 (2014)]. Although the two problems share similarities -- such as the appearance of a geometric phase shift -- lattice effects, not captured by the continuum limit, make them truly different. The particle dynamics in the presence of a force is described by the Bloch Hamiltonian $H(\boldsymbol{k})$ defined from the tight-binding Hamiltonian and the position operator. This leads to many interesting effects for the lattice St\"uckelberg interferometer: a twisting of the two Landau-Zener tunnelings, saturation of the inter-band transition probability in the sudden (infinite force) limit and extended periodicity or even non-periodicity beyond the first Brillouin zone. In particular, St\"uckelberg interferometry gives access to the overlap matrix of cell-periodic Bloch states thereby allowing to fully characterize the geometry of Bloch states, as e.g. to obtain the quantum metric tensor.


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