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Driving a Strongly Interacting Superfluid out of Equilibrium

dc.contributor.advisorKöhl, Michael
dc.contributor.authorBehrle, Alexandra Bianca
dc.description.abstractA new field of research, which gained interest in the past years, is the field of non- equilibrium physics of strongly interacting fermionic systems. In this thesis we present a novel apparatus to study an ultracold strongly interacting superfluid Fermi gas driven out of equilibrium. In more detail, we study the excitation of a collective mode, the Higgs mode, and the dynamics occurring after a rapid quench of the interaction strength. Ultracold gases are ideal candidates to explore the physics of strongly interacting Fermi gases due to their purity and the possibility to continuously change many different system parameters, such as the interaction strength.
The novel apparatus enabling the experiments outlined below is built from scratch. The setup is described and characterized in detail. We produce a fermionic superfluid of 4 × 10^6 6Li atoms at a temperature of T/T_F = 0.07 ± 0.02, where T_F is the Fermi temperature. This is achieved within 23 s by a combination of laser cooling, radio frequency evaporation of 23Na and simultaneous sympathetic cooling of 6Li in an optical plugged magnetic trap and subsequent evaporative cooling of 6Li in a dipole trap.
In this thesis we provide the first experimental evidence of the Higgs mode in a strongly interacting Fermi gas in the crossover from a BCS superfluid to a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate. We develop a novel excitation method, which directly couples to the amplitude of the order parameter. This is achieved by continuously changing the population of one spin component by driving a radio frequency transition to a previously unoccupied third hyperfine state. This effectively modulates the interaction strength and the amplitude of the order parameter. We spectroscopically observe a resonance behavior at twice the gap frequency. For strong coupling, the peak width broadens and eventually the Higgs mode disappears when the Cooper pairs turn into tightly bound dimers signaling the instability of the Higgs mode. It has been suggested that the Higgs mode frequency is a precise measure of the superconducting gap in the BEC-BCS crossover, where the exact value of the gap is yet unknown and numerical calculations are challenging. Hence, our novel method provides a unique technique to determine the superconducting gap.
Moreover, we perform rapid variations of the interaction parameter and vary both the initial interaction strength and the amplitude of the quench. The rapid quenches are performed by rapidly transferring one spin component of a two-component spin mixture into a third state with a different interaction strength by using a radio frequency transition. Using this novel method, we can perform the quenches in half the Fermi time, which is experimentally very close to a sudden change and to date faster than any other research group performing interaction quenches with ultra cold gases. In the experiment, we observe a fast relaxation to a zero order parameter for large quenches, whereas for small quenches we observe, after a sudden drop, a revival of the order parameter and equilibration to a long-term superfluid steady state. Our measurement provides the first evidence of the collapse and subsequent revival of order in a strongly interacting fermionic system.
dc.rightsIn Copyright
dc.subject.ddc530 Physik
dc.titleDriving a Strongly Interacting Superfluid out of Equilibrium
dc.typeDissertation oder Habilitation
dc.publisher.nameUniversitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn
ulbbnediss.affiliation.nameRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
ulbbnediss.instituteMathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät : Fachgruppe Physik/Astronomie / Physikalisches Institut (PI)
ulbbnediss.fakultaetMathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
dc.contributor.coRefereeLinden, Stefan

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