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Towards quantum degenerate atomic Fermi mixtures

Abstract : During my PhD, I participated in the full setup from scratch of an experiment that aims at cooling down and manipulating two fermionic alkaline atomic species, 6Li and 40K. Our goal is to study ultracold Fermi mixtures with mass imbalance, and to realize a flexible quantum analog simulator. In fact, for certain quantum many-body problems, such as high critical temperature superconductivity and frustrated anti-ferromagnetism, there is neither complete analytical nor numerical solution. Therefore, cold atoms systems, due to their purity and their high degree of tunability, even on their interaction itself, offer an interesting complementary point of view in the study of those phenomena. As far as the experimental setup is concerned, we built an ultra-high vacuum system, a complete and stable laser source for each species, as well as two performing atomic sources, a 6Li Zeeman slower and a 40K bidimensionnal magneto-optical trap; most of the optical and electrical quantities, as well as the imaging diagnostics, being computer controlled. Once those preliminary steps have been performed and optimized, we could obtain an efficient double magneto-optical trap, containing typically 5x10^9 atoms of 6Li and 8x10^9 atoms of 40K. In this configuration, we produced the first 6Li40K* heteronuclear molecules by photoassociation, for which we identified 70 rovibrational lines. In a second part, I describe in detail the magnetic transport of the atomic mixture, between the magneto-optical trap chamber and a science cell, located in an ultra-high vacuum region with large optical access. The complete setup, from its design to its experimental implementation and optimization, as well as the development of the program and the useful numerical diagnostics, are the heart of my work. The transport efficiency could be tested and optimized, allowing for an efficient transfer of the mixture in the science cell. Thus, after this thesis, all the experimental tools are operational in order to allow for evaporative cooling of the mixture in an optically plugged magnetic trap. Therefore, the field is open for quantum simulation and understanding of many-body problems in ultracold Fermi mixtures.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 5:29:32 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00636899, version 3

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Thomas Salez. Towards quantum degenerate atomic Fermi mixtures. Atomic Physics [physics.atom-ph]. Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 0309BRU00388⟩. ⟨tel-00636899v3⟩

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