Quantum many-body physics with ultracold polar molecules: Nanostructured potential barriers and interactions
We design dipolar quantum many-body Hamiltonians that will facilitate the realization of exotic quantum phases under current experimental conditions achieved for polar molecules. The main idea is to modulate both single-body potential barriers and two-body dipolar interactions on a spatial scale of tens of nanometers to strongly enhance energy scales and, therefore, relax temperature requirements for observing new quantum phases of engineered many-body systems. We consider and compare two approaches. In the first, nanoscale barriers are generated with standing wave optical light fields exploiting optical nonlinearities. In the second, static electric field gradients in combination with microwave dressing are used to write nanostructured spatial patterns on the induced electric dipole moments, and thus dipolar interactions. We study the formation of inter-layer and interface bound states of molecules in these configurations, and provide detailed estimates for binding energies and expected losses for present experimental setups.