Physics at Virginia

"Quantum Mixology: Creating Novel Interacting Bose-Fermi Mixtures with Cs and Li"

Brian DeSalvo , University of Chicago
[Host: Bob Jones]

A gas of atoms cooled to sufficiently low temperature will form either a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) or a degenerate Fermi gas (DFG) depending on the quantum statistics of the constituent particles. But what happens when you combine a BEC and a DFG in an optical trap and add a healthy dose of interspecies interactions? Mean-field theory predicts three possible outcomes: a miscible mixture for weak interactions, complete demixing for strong repulsive interactions, or a spectacular collapse due to the loss of mechanical stability for strong attractive interactions. In this talk, I will discuss our efforts to answer this question experimentally in the specific case where the bosons are much heavier than the fermions. To this end, we have created the first quantum degenerate mixture of bosonic 133Cs and fermionic 6Li and used an interspecies Feshbach resonance to tune the interactions between the bosons and fermions. For attractive interspecies interactions, we find two surprising results. First,  we show that a degenerate Fermi gas of Li can be trapped by a Cs BEC, even in the absence of external potentials. Second, for strong attractive interactions where collapse is predicted, we observe no such instability. I will discuss the mechanisms at play to explain these results and comment on current and future studies delving deeper into these unexpected regimes.



Friday, February 23, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special room.

Special Colloquium

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