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Title: Interacting Fermi gases
Author: Whitehead, Thomas Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 967X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Interacting Fermi gases are one of the chief paradigms of condensed matter physics. They have been studied since the beginning of the development of quantum mechanics, but continue to produce surprises today. Recent experimental developments in the field of ultracold atomic gases, as well as conventional solid state materials, have produced new and exotic forms of Fermi gases, the theoretical understanding of which is still in its infancy. This Thesis aims to provide updated tools and additional insights into some of these systems, through the application of both numerical and analytical techniques. The first Part of this Thesis is concerned with the development of improved numerical tools for the study of interacting Fermi gases. These tools take the form of accurate model potentials for the dipolar and contact interactions, as found in various ultracold atomic gas experiments, and a new form of Jastrow correlation factor that interpolates between the radial symmetry of the inter-electron Coulomb potential at short inter-particle distances, and the symmetry of the numerical simulation cell at large separation. These methods are designed primarily for use in quantum Monte Carlo numerical calculations, and provide high accuracy along with considerable acceleration of simulations. The second Part shifts focus to an analytical analysis of spin-imbalanced Fermi gases with an attractive contact interaction. The spin-imbalanced Fermi gas is shown to be unstable to the formation of multi-particle instabilities, generalisations of a Cooper pair containing more than two fermions, and then a theory of superconductivity is built from these instabilities. This multi-particle superconductivity is shown to be energetically favourable over conventional superconducting phases in spin-imbalanced Fermi gases, and its unusual experimental consequences are discussed.
Supervisor: Conduit, Gareth Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Fermi gas ; Condensed matter physics ; Quantum physics ; Ultracold atomic gas ; Quantum Monte Carlo ; Superconductivity ; Spin-imbalanced Fermi gas