We experimentally demonstrate coherent light scattering from an atomic Mott insulator in a two-dimensional lattice. The far-field diffraction pattern of small clouds of a few hundred atoms was imaged while simultaneously laser cooling the atoms with the probe beams. We describe the position of the diffraction peaks and the scaling of the peak parameters by a simple analytic model. In contrast to Bragg scattering, scattering from a single plane yields diffraction peaks for any incidence angle. We demonstrate the feasibility of detecting spin correlations via light scattering by artificially creating a one-dimensional antiferromagnetic order as a density wave and observing the appearance of additional diffraction peaks.
- coherent light scattering