In the absence of a confining potential, the boson-Hubbard model exhibits a superfluid to Mott insulator quantum phase transition at commensurate fillings and strong coupling. We use quantum Monte Carlo simulations to study the ground state of the one-dimensional bosonic Hubbard model in a trap. Some, but not all, aspects of the Mott insulating phase persist. Mott behavior occurs for a continuous range of incommensurate fillings, very different from the unconfined case, and the establishment of the Mott phase does not proceed via a traditional quantum phase transition. These results have important implications for interpreting experiments on ultracold atoms on optical lattices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)