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Observation of dynamical fermionization

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Science  27 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6485, pp. 1461-1464
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0242

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Capturing the transformation

Quantum statistics dictates the behavior of identical particles in the quantum world: Bosons like to congregate, whereas fermions avoid one another. However, strong interactions can cause a string of bosons to behave like fermions. This so-called fermionization phenomenon has been studied in equilibrium. Wilson et al. instead focused on dynamical fermionization in a nonequilibrium system consisting of tubes of strongly interacting bosonic rubidium atoms. After letting the tubes expand in the axial direction, the researchers monitored the momentum distribution of the atoms and found that it evolved from bosonic-like to fermionic-like.

Science, this issue p. 1461

Abstract

The wave function of a Tonks-Girardeau (T-G) gas of strongly interacting bosons in one dimension maps onto the absolute value of the wave function of a noninteracting Fermi gas. Although this fermionization makes many aspects of the two gases identical, their equilibrium momentum distributions are quite different. We observed dynamical fermionization, where the momentum distribution of a T-G gas evolves from bosonic to fermionic after its axial confinement is removed. The asymptotic momentum distribution after expansion in one dimension is the distribution of rapidities, which are the conserved quantities associated with many-body integrable systems. Our measurements agree well with T-G gas theory. We also studied momentum evolution after the trap depth is suddenly changed to a new nonzero value, and we observed the theoretically predicted bosonic-fermionic oscillations.

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