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Fermion Pairing with Ultracold Atoms

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Whitfield Lecture Lecture by Randall Hulet from Rice University
When
12 April 2007 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where
117 Osmond Laboratory
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Ultracold atomic fermions have the potential for simulating important, and in some cases, unsolved models of condensed matter physics. In addition to being clean and well-characterized, the physical parameters of ultracold atomic gases are readily tunable. Of most interest is the tunability of interactions via a magnetically-tuned collisional (Feshbach) resonance. I will discuss experiments on the pairing of 6Li, a composite fermion, where a Feshbach resonance enables the realization of the BEC-BCS crossover. We use the rate of optical excitation to an excited molecular level to measure the relative magnitude of the order parameter throughout the cross-over regime. Furthermore, two-component Fermi gases with unequal spin populations are readily realized. I will discuss the experimental exploration of the phase diagram of this mismatched case, including the observation of phase separation between a fully paired core and the surrounding unpaired atoms (shown below).

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