We propose a cold-atom setup which allows for a dimensional crossover from a two-dimensional quantum spin Hall insulating phase to a three-dimensional strong topological insulator by tuning the hopping between the layers. We further show that additional Hubbard onsite interactions can give rise to spin liquid-like phases: weak and strong topological Mott insulators. They represent the celebrated paradigm of a quantum state of matter which merely exists because of the interplay of the non-trivial topology of the band structure and strong interactions. While the theoretical understanding of this phase has remained elusive, our proposal shall help to shed some light on this exotic state of matter by paving the way for a controlled experimental investigation in optical lattices.
Dimensional crossover and cold-atom realization of topological Mott insulators
Mathias S. Scheurer, Stephan Rachel, Peter P. Orth