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Orbital interactions between strongly confined fermions

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Ulrich Schneider.

Exchange-antisymmetric pair wavefunctions in fermionic systems hold the promise of new types of quantum simulations, topological quantum gates, and exotic few-body states. However, p-wave and other antisymmetric interactions are weak in naturally occurring systems, and their enhancement via Feshbach resonances in ultracold systems has been limited by three-body loss. Here we revisit p-wave interactions in the presence of strong confinement.

In a first scenario, we study the two-body correlation strength of quasi-one-dimensional (q1D) ensembles of spin-polarized fermionic potassium. The strength and spatial symmetry of interactions are tuned by a nearby p-wave Feshbach resonance and by confinement anisotropy. Surprisingly, we find a scattering channel that has even particle-exchange parity along the q1D axis. These emergent s-wave collisions are enabled by orbital singlet wave functions in the transverse directions, which also confer high-momentum components to low-energy q1D collisions.

In a second scenario, we create isolated pairs of spin-polarised fermionic atoms in a multi-orbital three-dimensional optical lattice. We measure elastic p-wave interaction energies of strongly interacting pairs of atoms and find pair lifetimes to be up to fifty times larger than in free space. We demonstrate that on-site interaction strengths can be widely tuned but collapse onto a universal single-parameter curve when rescaled by the harmonic energy and length scales of a single lattice site. Since three-body processes are absent in this scenario, we are able to observe elastic unitary p-wave interactions for the first time. Observations are compared both to an analytic solution for two harmonically confined atoms interacting via a p-wave pseudopotential and to numerical solutions using an ab-initio interaction potential.

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