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Interacting fermions on a lattice can develop strong quantum correlations, which are the cause of the classical intractability of many exotic phases of matter. Current efforts are directed towards the control of artificial quantum systems that can be made to emulate the underlying Fermi-Hubbard models. Electrostatically confined conduction-band electrons define interacting quantum coherent spin and charge degrees of freedom that allow all-electrical initialization of low-entropy states and readily adhere to the Fermi-Hubbard Hamiltonian. Until now, however, the substantial electrostatic disorder of the solid state has meant that only a few attempts at emulating Fermi-Hubbard physics on solid-state platforms have been made. Here we show that for gate-defined quantum dots this disorder can be suppressed in a controlled manner. Using a semi-automated and scalable set of experimental tools, we homogeneously and independently set up the electron filling and nearest-neighbour tunnel coupling in a semiconductor quantum dot array so as to simulate a Fermi-Hubbard system. With this set-up, we realize a detailed characterization of the collective Coulomb blockade transition, which is the finite-size analogue of the interaction-driven Mott metal-to-insulator transition. As automation and device fabrication of semiconductor quantum dots continue to improve, the ideas presented here will enable the investigation of the physics of ever more complex many-body states using quantum dots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-73
Number of pages4
JournalNature: international weekly journal of science
Volume548
Issue number7665
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 38016477