The experiments in the Wright group involve cooling a small, dilute gas of lithium atoms down to less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero. Lithium has two isotopes, one with an odd number of constituent particles (Li-6), and one with an even number (Li-7). This subtle difference becomes extremely important at low temperatures. The isotope Li-6 is a “composite Fermion” and can behave in a manner very much like an electron does in a superconductor.  The work we are doing should help address important problems for many fields of physics, including condensed matter, nuclear, high-energy, and astrophysics. Insights gained through these explorations will facilitate new approaches for predicting the behavior of quantum materials, potentially enabling technological developments in power distribution, sensor technologies, and both classical and quantum computing.



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Evaporation in the “Sheet” Trap

With the “Feshbach” magnetic coils now working, we can control the interactions between lithium atoms when they are trapped in the glass “science” cell, and we have observed evaporative cooling of atoms in that trap. The density and temperature already look favorable enough to add in the beam that will shape the ultracold Fermi gas into a ring shape. One big step closer to our experimental goals.

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