Boiling a Unitary Fermi Liquid

Zhenjie Yan, Parth B. Patel, Biswaroop Mukherjee, Richard J. Fletcher, Julian Struck, Martin W. Zwierlein

Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 093401 (2019)

Physics logo See Viewpoint by Pietro MassignanFrom Quantum Quasiparticles to a Classical Gas

arXiv:1811.00481 (2018)

We study the thermal evolution of a highly spin-imbalanced, homogeneous Fermi gas with unitarity limited interactions, from a Fermi liquid of polarons at low temperatures to a classical Boltzmann gas at high temperatures. Radio-frequency spectroscopy gives access to the energy, lifetime and the short-range correlations of Fermi polarons at low temperatures T. In this regime we observe a characteristic $\propto T^2$ dependence of the spectral width, corresponding to the quasiparticle decay rate expected for a Fermi liquid. At high T the spectral width decreases again towards the scattering rate of the classical, unitary Boltzmann gas, $\propto T^{1/2}$. In the transition region between the quantum degenerate and classical regime, the spectral width attains its maximum, on the scale of the Fermi energy, indicating the breakdown of a quasiparticle description. Density measurements in a harmonic trap directly reveal the majority dressing cloud surrounding the minority spins, and yield the compressibility along with the effective mass of Fermi polarons.