Strongly interacting Fermi gases appear in nature from the smallest to the largest scales — from atomic nuclei to white dwarfs and neutron stars. However, they are notoriously difficult to model and understand theoretically. Emulating such Fermi systems with ultracold atoms has been highly successful in recent years, but the approach has been limited to short-range interactions of the van der Waals type. Longer-range interactions such as dipolar or atom–charge interactions would provide a significant enrichment of the accessible physics, including next-neighbour interactions in the Fermi–Hubbard Model, dipolar Fermi polarons, bilayer pair formation and superfluidity, and charged Fermi polaron formation and transport.
We will tackle these challenging fundamental physics problems experimentally with two innovative quantum gas microscopy techniques suited for the detection of strong dipolar quantum correlations in lattices and bilayers and fermionic correlations around impurities and charges. The first technique is based on non-linear optical microscopy to study dipolar fermions on lattices and bilayers. The second technique is a newly developed and demonstrated pulsed ion microscope with unprecedented spatial (<200 nm) and temporal (<10 ns) resolution at 100 µm depth of field that will be extended to study impurities created in a bulk Fermi gas. The pulsed operation enables controlled studies of transport of charged polarons in a Fermi gas. This novel quantum gas microscope can resolve the dynamics from the two-body collisional time scale to the collective many-body timescale.
With these versatile tools at hand we will gain a deep microscopic understanding of the underlying physics of strongly correlated fermionic quantum matter with interactions longer-ranged than those typically present in all previous experiments. These highly controllable atomic model systems promise to guide research on related Fermi systems in material science, nuclear physics and astrophysics.
Fields of science
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