John E. Thomas

John E. Thomas

Fritz London Professor Emeritus of Physics

Office Location: 
185 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Front 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

Selected Grants

All-Optical Production of Degnerate Fermi Gas Mixtures awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2006

Light and Matter Wave Scattering in an Optically Trapped Fermi Gas awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2002 to 2006

All-Optical Production of Degenerate Fermi Gas Mixtures awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2002 to 2005

Resonance Fermi-Superfluidity in a CO2 Laser Trap awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2002 to 2005

Imaging and Interactions of Li Fermions in an Ultrasound CO2 Laser Trap awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2002

Ultrastable CO2 Laser Trap for Lithium Fermions awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2002

Optical Characterization of an Ultracold Fermi Gas awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2000 to 2002

(98-0665) Optical Phase Space Tomography awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1997 to 2000

Optical Phase Space Tomography awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1997 to 2000

(96-0959) Optical Phase Space Tomography awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1997 to 2000

Pages

Joseph, J., et al. “Measurement of sound velocity in a fermi gas near a feshbach resonance.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 98, no. 17, Apr. 2007. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.170401. Full Text

Luo, L., et al. “Measurement of the entropy and critical temperature of a strongly interacting Fermi gas..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 98, no. 8, Feb. 2007. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.98.080402. Full Text

Luo, L., et al. “Evaporative cooling of unitary Fermi gas mixtures in optical traps.” New Journal of Physics, vol. 8, Sept. 2006. Scopus, doi:10.1088/1367-2630/8/9/213. Full Text

Thomas, John E. “Ultracold Fermi gas on a chip.” Nature Physics, vol. 2, no. 6, Springer Nature, June 2006, pp. 377–78. Crossref, doi:10.1038/nphys326. Full Text

Thomas, J. E. “Optically-trapped Fermi gases.” Habitation, vol. 10, 2006.

Reil, Frank, and John E. Thomas. “Observation of phase conjugation of light arising from enhanced backscattering in a random medium..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 95, no. 14, Sept. 2005. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.95.143903. Full Text

Thomas, J. E., et al. “Virial theorem and universality in a unitary fermi gas..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 95, no. 12, Sept. 2005. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.95.120402. Full Text

Lu, Z. H., et al. “Observation of phase-sensitive temporal correlations in the resonance fluorescence from two-level atoms..” Optics Letters, vol. 30, no. 18, Sept. 2005, pp. 2478–80. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ol.30.002478. Full Text

Kinast, J., et al. “Damping of a unitary Fermi gas..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 94, no. 17, May 2005. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.94.170404. Full Text

Kinast, Joseph, et al. “Heat capacity of a strongly interacting Fermi gas..” Science (New York, N.Y.), vol. 307, no. 5713, Feb. 2005, pp. 1296–99. Epmc, doi:10.1126/science.1109220. Full Text

Pages