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Probing the equation of state of Bose and Fermi gases

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The quantum many-body problem is at the heart of some of the most formidable open problems in modern physics, such as high-T$_c$ superconductivity or the behaviour of neutron stars. Ultracold atomic systems can now be used to simulate model Hamiltonians of condensed matter or nuclear physics, in very well-controlled environnement. In this talk, I will present a general method that we have developed to probe the thermodynamics of homogeneous quantum systems using trapped atomic gases. These measurements are directly compared to the predictions of theories of the quantum many-body problem. We have applied this technique to the spin-1/2 Fermi gas and the Bose with short-range interactions. Using fermionic 6Li, we explored a part of the wide parameter space by changing the interaction strength, the spin-population imbalance or the temperature of the gas. This system exhibits remarkably rich physics, such as normal/superfluid phase transitions (that can be of thermal or quantum character) or a Fermi liquid-type behaviour of the normal phase. We have also used this method to probe a Bose gas of 7Li atoms close to a Feshbach resonance. We have measured the Equation of State of the Bose gas as a function of interactions at very low temperature. For the first time, we measured quantitatively the Lee-Huang-Yang beyond mean-field correction to the ground-state energy of the system, first predicted in 1957. We compared the experimental results to Quantum Monte-Carlo calculations. We have extended this study using out-of-equilibrium measurements of the Bose gas in the strongly interacting regime, which gives a first hint on the properties of the hypothetical unitary Bose gas

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