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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I018514/1
Title: Few-body Phenomena in a Degenerate Fermi Gas
Principal Investigator: Lobo, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Mathematics
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2011 Ends: 07 November 2014 Value (£): 231,040
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Cold Atomic Species
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Dec 2010 Physical Sciences Panel - Physics Announced
09 Feb 2011 Physical Sciences Physics - Feb Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We will study a new area which has appeared only recently in the field of ultracold atoms. These systems are composed of gases of atoms at very low temperature (on the order of a millionth of a degree Kelvin) stored in ultrahigh vacuum which exhibit certain quantum mechanical properties.In the past couple of years experimentalists have been able to create and study systems where a few of the atoms are of different species from the others (e.g. they have a different internal state known as spin ). These atoms can be thought of as having their motional properties affected due to their interaction with the background atoms (the majority species). We can use an analogy here: imagine that the different atoms are like round spheres (such as billiard balls) moving through a viscous fluid (e.g. water). Because of the interaction between the fluid and the sphere (the drag force), we might say that the spheres have increased their mass since they have more inertia now. It turns out that in many areas of physics (condensed matter, particle physics and others) this way of thinking about the problem is very useful and leads to many insights.When we introduce the few different atoms into this background, not only will their inertia change (we say that their effective mass has changed), but also other aspects of their behaviour. For example, the way they collide with each other, or form molecules with each other.Very broadly we propose to study thereforei) How these atoms collide with each other and their interactions.ii) How these atoms propagate in the medium (e.g. their inertia, the slowing down effect of the medium on the motion of the atoms, known as damping).iii) What kinds of molecules and compounds can the atoms form in the presence of the medium which they could not before (i.e. in vacuum).iv) How best to detect and measure these effects experimentally, what techniques to use and what to look for in the data.Beyond the interest in studying atoms there is a wider one: in our specific case the background gas is of a type known as a degenerate Fermi gas . This system is a model for many systems, from electrons in metals to nuclear matter in neutron stars and therefore, the phenomena that we propose to study has close analogs in each of these other systems.
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk