Mott skyrmions: Stabilizing the false vacuum

Gergely Zaránd

Topological excitations keep fascinating physicists since many decades. While individual vortices and solitons emerge and have been observed in many areas of physics, their most intriguing higher dimensional topological relatives, skyrmions  and magnetic monopoles remained mostly elusive. Here we propose that loading a three-component nematic superfluid such as 23Na into a deep optical lattice and thereby creating an insulating core, one can create topologically stable skyrmion textures and investigate their properties in detail. We show furthermore that the spectrum of the excitations of the superfluid and their quantum numbers change dramatically in the presence of the skyrmion, and they reflect the presence of a trapped monopole, as imposed by the skyrmion’s topology. Signatures of the presence of the skyrmion in time of flight experiments as well as experimental protocols to create it shall  also be discussed.