John E. Thomas

Fritz London Professor Emeritus of Physics

External Address: 
185 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90305, Durham, NC 27708-0305
Phone: 
(919) 660-2508

Overview

Professor John E. Thomas is exploring the physics of an optically trapped degenerate Fermi gas. The group pioneered the development of ultrastable all-optical traps for neutral atoms in 1999, achieving trap lifetimes of more than 400 seconds, comparable to the best magnetic traps. The group has developed methods for direct evaporative cooling of neutral atoms in optical traps, enabling the first all-optical production of a degenerate Fermi gas in 2001. The trapped gas comprises a degenerate 50-50 mixture of spin-up and spin-down fermionic lithium-6 atoms, which exhibits a collisional (Feshbach) resonance in a bias magnetic field. In 2002, the Duke group was the first to produce and study a strongly interacting degenerate Fermi gas. This system exhibits universal behavior and is a paradigm for testing nonperturbative many-body calculational methods in disciplines from nuclear matter to high temperature superconductors. In 2004, the Duke group was the first to observe evidence for high temperature superfluid hydrodynamics in a strongly interacting Fermi gas. Ongoing experiments include studies of the thermodynamics and transport properties of this unique quantum system.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1979

Nonequilibrum Fermi Gases awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2013

Simulating Strongly Correlated Electrons with a Strongly Interacting Fermi Gas awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2012

Strongly Interacting Fermi Gases in Reduced Dimensions awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2011

Fermi Gases with Optically-Controlled Interactions awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2011

Trapped Fermi gases as models of strongly interacting matter awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2011

Strongly-Interacting Fermic Gases in Reduced Dimensions awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2008

Trapped Fermi Gases as Models of Strong Interacting Matter awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2008

Quantum Dynamics of Optically-Trapped Fermi Gases awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2001 to 2007

Quantum Coherence in Ultracold Fermionic Vapors (Supplement) awarded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2007

Quantum Coherence in Ultracold Fermionic Vapors awarded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Principal Investigator). 2001 to 2006

Pages

Joseph, JA, Thomas, JE, Kulkarni, M, and Abanov, AG. "Observation of shock waves in a strongly interacting Fermi gas." Phys Rev Lett 106.15 (April 15, 2011): 150401-. Full Text

Cao, C, Elliott, E, Joseph, J, Wu, H, Petricka, J, Schäfer, T, and Thomas, JE. "Universal quantum viscosity in a unitary Fermi gas." Science 331.6013 (January 7, 2011): 58-61. Full Text Open Access Copy

Thomas, JE. "Is an ultra-cold strongly interacting Fermi gas a perfect fluid." Nucl. Phys. A 830 (October 2009): 635-. (Academic Article)

Du, X, Zhang, Y, Petricka, J, and Thomas, JE. "Controlling spin current in a trapped Fermi gas." Phys Rev Lett 103.1 (July 3, 2009): 010401-. Full Text

Du, X, Zhang, Y, and Thomas, JE. "Inelastic collisions of a Fermi gas in the BEC-BCS crossover." Phys Rev Lett 102.25 (June 26, 2009): 250402-. Full Text

Luo, L, and Thomas, JE. "Thermodynamic Measurements in a Strongly Interacting Fermi Gas." JOURNAL OF LOW TEMPERATURE PHYSICS 154.1-2 (January 2009): 1-29. Full Text

Du, X, Luo, L, Clancy, B, and Thomas, JE. "Observation of anomalous spin segregation in a trapped Fermi gas." Phys Rev Lett 101.15 (October 10, 2008): 150401-. Full Text

Turlapov, A, Kinast, J, Clancy, B, Luo, L, Joseph, J, and Thomas, JE. "Is a gas of strongly interacting atomic Fermions a nearly perfect fluid?." JOURNAL OF LOW TEMPERATURE PHYSICS 150.3-4 (February 2008): 567-576. Full Text

Clancy, B, Luo, L, and Thomas, JE. "Observation of nearly perfect irrotational flow in normal and superfluid strongly interacting Fermi gases." Phys Rev Lett 99.14 (October 5, 2007): 140401-. Full Text

Pages