Tabletop Studies of Fermion Pairing
The formation of fermion pairs and their condensation is a phenomenon common to many physical systems, whether the constituents are atoms, nucleons, electrons, or quarks. The new found ability to trap and cool fermionic atoms has provided a versatile avenue for experimental exploration of fermion pairing. I have been working on using field theory techniques to describe and calculate properties of these gases. In this talk, I focus on a dilute gas of 2-component, non relativistic fermions whose scattering length is much larger than the average interparticle spacing. This is a setup which describes atomic gases tuned to a Feshbach resonance, as well as neutron matter. I discuss how Monte Carlo simulations can compute properties of this gas from first principles. As an example, I show an exploratory calculation of the critical temperature separating the normal and superfluid phases. Next, I outline how effective field theory enables one to study the low temperature properties of the gas beyond superfluid hydrodynamics. It turns out that this system possesses a great deal of symmetry which tightly constrains the form of next-to-leading order behavior. To summarize, much can be learned about cold fermion gases with the laser table, the desktop computer (cluster), and the pen+paper.