Repulsive Fermi polarons observed in a polarized spin mixture

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Landau was first to suggest that collective excitations of particle ensembles could be treated as if they were particles themselves, with properties like momentum and mass. As such, these excitations are known as quasiparticles, and in contrast to free particles they possess a finite lifetime. In this study, we report on the investigation of a particular type of quasiparticle known as a Fermi polaron. This is a quantum impurity that is immersed in a Fermi sea and strongly interacts with it. In particular, Fermi polarons emerging from impurities repelling the surrounding particles are known as repulsive polarons. We could observe well-defined repulsive polarons even at very strong interactions, with impurities possessing the same mass as the surrounding particles. In such a system the existence of long-lived repulsive polarons was thus far debated. For this, we have spectroscopically probed an ultracold Fermi gas of lithium, where atoms in a specific internal spin state acted the role of the impurities interacting with a bath of atoms in another spin state. Our findings offer exciting prospects for studying many-body states that rely on repulsive interactions.

F. Scazza, et al.,
Repulsive Fermi Polarons in a Resonant Mixture of Ultracold 6Li Atoms
Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 083602 (2017)