Heat Capacity of Fermi Gases

Science  25 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5713, pp. 1165
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5713.1165n

The ability to tune the interaction strength between atoms in strongly interacting Fermi gases provides an experimental system to study many-body physics. One example is the crossover from a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) regime, in which the atoms are strongly coupled into pairs, to the weak regime that mimics Bardeen-Cooper-Scheiffer (BCS) coupling of electrons in superconducting metals. As in superconductivity and superfluidity, heat capacity measurements have provided important information on phase transition and characterization of the excitations. Kinast et al. (p. 1296, published online 27 January 2005) have now made similar measurements on an optically trapped cloud of Fermi atoms and found a clear transition at the predicted BCS-BEC crossover regime. Such measurements should prove an important probe of the fundamental thermodynamics of these gases.

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