Anomalous Expansion of Attractively Interacting Fermionic Atoms in an Optical Lattice
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CitationHackermuller, Lucia, Ulrich Schneider, Maria Moreno-Cardoner, Takuya Kitagawa, Sebastian Will, Thorsten Best, Eugene Demler, Ehud Altman, Immanuel Bloch, and Belen Paredes. 2010. Anomalous expansion of attractively interacting fermionic atoms in an optical lattice. Science 327(5973): 1621-1624.
AbstractStrong correlations can dramatically modify the thermodynamics of a quantum many-particle system. Especially intriguing behaviour can appear when the system adiabatically enters a strongly correlated regime, for the interplay between entropy and strong interactions can lead to counterintuitive effects. A well known example is the so-called Pomeranchuk effect, occurring when liquid \(^3\)He is adiabatically compressed towards its crystalline phase. Here, we report on a novel anomalous, isentropic effect in a spin mixture of attractively interacting fermionic atoms in an optical lattice. As we adiabatically increase the attraction between the atoms we observe that the gas, instead of contracting, anomalously expands. This expansion results from the combination of two effects induced by pair formation in a lattice potential: the suppression of quantum fluctuations as the attraction increases, which leads to a dominant role of entropy, and the progressive loss of the spin degree of freedom, which forces the gas to excite additional orbital degrees of freedom and expand to outer regions of the trap in order to maintain the entropy. The unexpected thermodynamics we observe reveal fundamentally distinctive features of pairing in the fermionic Hubbard model.
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