We describe how to design a large class of always on spin-1 interactions between polar molecules trapped in an optical lattice. The spin degrees of freedom correspond to the hyperfine levels of a ro-vibrational ground state molecule. Interactions are induced using a microwave field to mix ground states in one hyperfine manifold with the spin entangled dipole–dipole coupled excited states. Using multiple fields, anistropic models in one, two, or three dimensions can be built with tunable spatial range. An illustrative example in one-dimension is the generalized Haldane model, which at a specific parameter has a gapped valence bond solid ground state. The interaction strengths are large compared to decoherence rates and should allow for probing the rich phase structure of strongly correlated systems, including dimerized and gapped phases.
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