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Observation of a Strongly Interacting Degenerate Fermi Gas of Atoms

Science  13 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5601, pp. 2179-2182
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079107

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Abstract

We report on the observation of a highly degenerate, strongly interacting Fermi gas of atoms. Fermionic lithium-6 atoms in an optical trap are evaporatively cooled to degeneracy using a magnetic field to induce strong, resonant interactions. Upon abruptly releasing the cloud from the trap, the gas is observed to expand rapidly in the transverse direction while remaining nearly stationary in the axial direction. We interpret the expansion dynamics in terms of collisionless superfluid and collisional hydrodynamics. For the data taken at the longest evaporation times, we find that collisional hydrodynamics does not provide a satisfactory explanation, whereas superfluidity is plausible.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jet{at}phy.duke.edu

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