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Pairing and Phase Separation in a Polarized Fermi Gas

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Science  27 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5760, pp. 503-505
DOI: 10.1126/science.1122876

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Abstract

We report the observation of pairing in a gas of atomic fermions with unequal numbers of two components. Beyond a critical polarization, the gas separates into a phase that is consistent with a superfluid paired core surrounded by a shell of normal unpaired fermions. The critical polarization diminishes with decreasing attractive interaction. For near-zero polarization, we measured the parameter β = –0.54 ± 0.05, describing the universal energy of a strongly interacting paired Fermi gas, and found good agreement with recent theory. These results are relevant to predictions of exotic new phases of quark matter and of strongly magnetized superconductors.

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