Fri May 4, 2018 2:00 pm

20 years of Feshbach Resonances in Ultracold Atomic Gases

Location:MIT Papplardo Room (4-349)
Cheng Chin, University of Chicago
Richard Fletcher, MIT
Sandro Stringari, University of Trento

Full Event Schedule:

2 – 2:30 pm History of Feshbach resonances

  • 2pm Wolfgang Ketterle (MIT) Early theory and experiment
  • 2:20 pm Vladan Vuletic (MIT) Feshbach resonances in cesium
  • 2:25 pm Dan Kleppner (MIT) Herman Feshbach2:30

2:30 pm Martin Zwierlein (MIT) Feshbach resonances and fermions
2:50 pm Sandro Stringari (U Trento) Feshbach resonances and strong correlations in dilute quantum gases
3:10 pm Richard Fletcher (MIT) Feshbach resonances and Bose-Einstein condensates

3:30 – 4pm Coffee break

4pm Kan-Kuen Ni (Harvard) Feshbach resonances and molecules
4:20 pm Eugene Demler (Harvard) Feshbach resonances and polarons
4:40 pm Cheng Chin (U Chicago) Feshbach resonances and Effimov states

5pm Reception

On Friday, May 4th, MIT will host a symposium on Feshbach resonances, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the experimental discovery of these resonances in ultracold atoms at MIT.  The field of ultracold atoms started its explosive growth with the advent of Bose-Einstein condensation in 1995, which was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001.  Many new directions for research with Bose-Einstein condensates were enabled by the discovery of Feshbach resonances at MIT in 1998.  “With Feshbach resonances, we can control the interactions between atoms.  We can make them weak or strong, attractive or repulsive.  A major fraction of research with ultracold atoms would not be possible without Feshbach resonance” says Wolfgang Ketterle, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics, Associate Director at RLE and Director of the Center for Ultracold Atoms at MIT and Harvard, who was co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize.

Feshbach resonances in nuclear physics were described by the late Herman Feshbach (1912 – 2000), MIT professor of physics, in 1958.  When two particles collide, they can stick together for a short while, if the incoming energy is matched to the energy of a metastable bound state, and this is called Feshbach resonance.  “This is like two people who dance around each other when they meet, and then they continue their way”, explains Ketterle.  And it is this dance, which can lead to an effective repulsive or attractive force between the two collision partners.  Around 1992, the Dutch physicist Boudewijn Verhaar and collaborators realized that this phenomenon should occur not only in nuclei, but also in clouds of ultracold atoms.  After the advent of Bose-Einstein condensation in ultracold gases, there was a race to realize this phenomenon, involving the groups at MIT, Austin, Texas, and Boulder, Colorado.  Nature printed the discovery paper within three weeks of submission, and with about 2,000 citations, it is one of the most highly cited papers in the field.

The MIT symposium on May 4th will reminisce the historical roots of Feshbach resonances and then illustrate, with short talks from leading researchers, how Feshbach resonances have transformed studies of Bose-Einstein condensates, ultracold fermions, molecules, many-body systems and three-body physics.

Event type: