Experiments with strongly interacting Fermi gases of atoms and molecules
Abstract: Understanding the non-equilibrium dynamics of strongly correlated systems is one of the major challenges of quantum many-body physics. Strongly interacting atomic Fermi gases, in this regard, serve as a powerful testbed to perform controlled studies of the systems' dynamics and provide stringent benchmarks for state-of-the-art many-body theories.
In this talk, I will present a comprehensive study of the dynamics leading to the formation of vortices in a strongly interacting Fermi superfluid, first, by using a moving obstacle, and second, by applying a rapid thermal quench. These measurements provide fresh insights into the role of microscopic physics in the vortex nucleation dynamics across the BEC-BCS crossover. The latter experiment, in particular, demonstrates that the Kibble-Zurek mechanism, which was first proposed to describe the formation of domain structures in the early universe, can be successfully applied even to a strongly correlated many-body system, such as a unitary Fermi gas.
In the remainder of the talk, if time permits, I will switch gears and present a different line of experimental work to create a novel many-body system composed of ultracold fermionic 23Na40K molecules. Unlike neutral atoms, these molecules have a large electric dipole moment of a few Debye, which allows to go beyond the simple contact interaction assumed for neutral atoms and perform quantum simulation of novel dipolar matter. The long-range nature of dipolar interactions will also open up new routes to perform quantum information processing with molecular qubits.