Measurement of Universal Thermodynamic Functions for a Unitary Fermi Gas

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Science  22 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5964, pp. 442-445
DOI: 10.1126/science.1183012

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Thermodynamic properties of matter generally depend on the details of interactions between its constituent parts. However, in a unitary Fermi gas where the scattering length diverges, thermodynamics is determined through universal functions that depend only on the particle density and temperature. By using only the general form of the equation of state and the equation of force balance, we measured the local internal energy of the trapped gas as a function of these parameters. Other universal functions, such as those corresponding to the Helmholtz free energy, chemical potential, and entropy, were calculated through general thermodynamic relations. The critical parameters were also determined at the superfluid transition temperature. These results apply to all strongly interacting fermionic systems, including neutron stars and nuclear matter.

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