Taming, slowing and trapping atoms with light
Cold is quantum, Quantum is cool!
We shape quantum matter
Multicolored lasers for a variety of atoms
Keeping our eyes on the quantum world
Join our ultracool group!
High technology for great science

Welcome to the website of the Ultracold Quantum Gases group at the European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy (LENS), the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Florence (Italy) and the Institute of Optics of the Italian National Research Council (CNR - INO). In our labs we use lasers and magnetic fields to produce the lowest temperatures of the Universe, just a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero...

At these temperatures, atoms stop moving and we can control them for a variety of different fundamental studies and applications. We can force atoms to arrange according to a periodic structure and simulate the behavior of crystalline solids and new materials. We can use the atoms as ultra-high accurate sensors to probe forces with the power of quantum mechanics. We can study how quantum particles combine together under the action of strong interactions and how superfluidity develops. We can use these ultracold atoms to process information and develop new quantum technologies.

Dress warmly and... follow us for this ultracold journey!


Despite its seeming simplicity, a Fermi gas of ultracold atoms with strong repulsive interactions exhibits a complex behavior, resulting from the competing action of two distinct instabilities — ferromagnetism and pairing. The breakdown of the repulsive Fermi liquid state, arising from such concurrent mechanisms, has been recently observed in real time through pump-probe spectroscopic techniques [A. Amico et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 253602 (2018)], leading also to the discovery of an emergent metastable microemulsion state of anticorrelated fermions and pairs. Here, we investigate the properties of such correlated many-body regime by preparing a strongly repulsive Fermi gas, and studying the evolution of kinetic and release energies, of the spectral response and coherence of the unpaired fermionic population, and of its spin-density noise correlations. All our observations consistently point to a low-temperature heterogeneous phase, where paired and unpaired fermions macroscopically coexist while exhibiting microscale inhomogeneity. Our findings open the exploration of quantum emulsions and possibly of inhomogeneous superfluid regimes.

F. Scazza et al.
Exploring emergent heterogeneous phases in strongly repulsive Fermi gases
Phys. Rev. A 101, 013603 (2020)

We show that the Lee-Huang-Yang (LHY) energy functional for a heteronuclear Bose mixture can be accurately approximated by an expression that has the same functional form as in the homonuclear case. It is characterized by two exponents, which can be treated as fitting parameters. We demonstrate that the values of these parameters which preserve the invariance under permutation of the two atomic species are exactly those of the homonuclear case. Deviations from the actual expression of LHY energy functional are discussed quantitatively.

F. Minardi et al.
Effective expression of the Lee-Huang-Yang energy functional for heteronuclear mixtures
Phys. Rev. A 100 063636 (2019)

We report on the formation of heteronuclear quantum droplets in an attractive bosonic mixture of 41K and 87Rb. We observe long-lived self-bound states, both in free space and in an optical waveguide. In the latter case, the dynamics under the effect of a species-dependent force confirms their bound nature. By tuning the interactions from the weakly to the strongly attractive regime, we study the transition from expanding to localized states, in both geometries. We compare the experimental results with numerical simulations and we find a good agreement in the full range of explored interactions.

C. D'Errico et al.
Observation of Quantum Droplets in a Heteronuclear Bosonic Mixture
Phys. Rev. Research 1, 033155 (2019)

The paradoxical supersolid phase of matter has the apparently incompatible properties of crystalline order and superfluidity. A crucial feature of a one-dimensional supersolid is the occurrence of two gapless excitations reflecting the Goldstone modes associated with the spontaneous breaking of two continuous symmetries: the breaking of phase invariance, corresponding to the locking of the phase of the atomic wave functions at the origin of superfluid phenomena, and the breaking of translational invariance due to the lattice structure of the system. We demonstrate the supersolid nature of the coherent stripe regime we discovered in dipolar Bose-Einstein condensates. In our trapped system, the symmetry breaking appears as two distinct compressional oscillation modes, reflecting the gapless Goldstone excitations of the homogeneous system. We observe that the two modes have different natures, with the higher frequency mode associated with an oscillation of the periodicity of the emergent lattice and the lower one characterizing the superfluid oscillations. Our work paves the way to explore the two quantum phase transitions between the superfluid, supersolid and crystal-like configurations that can be accessed by tuning a single interaction parameter.

L. Tanzi, et al.
Supersolid symmetry breaking from compressional oscillations in a dipolar quantum gas
Nature 574, 382 (2019)

See also the Nature News and Views by S. M. Mossman:

S. M. Mossman, Sounds of a supersolid detected in dipolar atomic gases for the first time
Nature 574, 341 (2019)

and the Nature Physics research highligh by Y. Li:

Y. Li, The buried trace
Nature Physics 15, 986 (2019)

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Seminars & Events

Seminar by Prof. Carlos Sa de Melo:
Ultra-cold Fermi Gases with Three and Four Internal States: The Evolution from BCS to BEC Superfluidity in Multiband Systems ,
h. 12.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Dr. Dimitrios Trypogeorgos:
Unconventional topology with a Rashba spin-orbit coupled quantum gas,
h. 14.30 Querzoli room, LENS.
Firenze-Trieste workshop:
Two days of talks and scientific discussions with the theory groups of ICTP and SISSA,
ICTP, Trieste.
Firenze-Trieste workshop:
Two days of talks and scientific discussions with the theory groups of ICTP and SISSA,
Aula Querzoli, LENS.
Quantumgases retreat:
A full-day group meeting to discuss the activity of the different labs,
h. 9.00 Villa il Gioiello, Arcetri.
Fermi Colloqium by Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle:
New forms of matter with ultracold atoms: superfluids, supersolids and more,
h. 11.30 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Prof. Arno Rauschenbeutel:
Chiral Quantum Optics,
h. 11.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
The LENS QuantumGases group is glad to welcome in Florence Prof. Randall Hulet from Rice University. Prof. Hulet will be our guest for one month until mid July.