Realizing the symmetry-protected Haldane phase in Fermi–Hubbard ladders


Topology in quantum many-body systems has profoundly changed our understanding of quantum phases of matter. The model that has played an instrumental role in elucidating these effects is the antiferromagnetic spin-1 Haldane chain1,2. Its ground state is a disordered state, with symmetry-protected fourfold-degenerate edge states due to fractional spin excitations. In the bulk, it is characterized by vanishing two-point spin correlations, gapped excitations and a characteristic non-local order parameter3,4. More recently it has been understood that the Haldane chain forms a specific example of a more general classification scheme of symmetry-protected topological phases of matter, which is based on ideas connected to quantum information and entanglement5–7. Here, we realize a finite-temperature version of such a topological Haldane phase with Fermi–Hubbard ladders in an ultracold-atom quantum simulator. We directly reveal both edge and bulk properties of the system through the use of single-site and particle-resolved measurements, as well as non-local correlation functions. Continuously changing the Hubbard interaction strength of the system enables us to investigate the robustness of the phase to charge (density) fluctuations far from the regime of the Heisenberg model, using a novel correlator.