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

(98-0821) Atom Noise awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1999

Atom Imaging awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1999

(98-0463) Atom Imaging awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1998

(96-0033) Atom Noise awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1998

(97-0881) Atomic Noise awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1998

(96-0413) Ultra-cold Atom Imaging awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1997

(96-0215) Atom Imaging with Diode Lasers awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1996

(96-0388) Atom Imaging awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1993 to 1996

(93-0397) Precision Position Measurement of Single Atoms awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1993 to 1996

(94-0974) Atomic Coherence awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1992 to 1996

Pages

Kinast, J., et al. “Optically trapped fermi gases model strong interactions in nature.” Optics and Photonics News, vol. 16, no. 12 SPEC. ISS., Jan. 2005. Scopus, doi:10.1364/OPN.16.12.000021. Full Text

Kinast, J., et al. “Breakdown of hydrodynamics in the radial breathing mode of a strongly interacting Fermi gas.” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 70, no. 5 A, Nov. 2004. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.70.051401. Full Text

Thomas, J. E., and M. E. Gehm. “Optically trapped fermi gases.” American Scientist, vol. 92, no. 3, SIGMA XI-SCI RES SOC, May 2004, pp. 238–45.

Kinast, J., et al. “Evidence for superfluidity in a resonantly interacting Fermi gas..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 92, no. 15, Apr. 2004. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.92.150402. Full Text

Thomas, J. E., et al. “Dynamics of a highly-degenerate, strongly-interacting Fermii gas of atoms.” Journal of Low Temperature Physics, vol. 134, no. 1–2, Jan. 2004, pp. 655–64.

Lee, K. F., and J. E. Thomas. “Entanglement with classical fields.” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 69, no. 5 A, Jan. 2004. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.69.052311. Full Text

Gehm, M. E., et al. “Mechanical stability of a strongly interacting Fermi gas of atoms.” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 68, no. 1, Jan. 2003. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.68.011401. Full Text

Gehm, M. E., et al. “Unitarity-limited elastic collision rate in a harmonically trapped Fermi gas.” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 68, no. 1, Jan. 2003. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.68.011603. Full Text

O’Hara, K. M., et al. “Observation of a strongly interacting degenerate Fermi gas of atoms..” Science (New York, N.Y.), vol. 298, no. 5601, Dec. 2002, pp. 2179–82. Epmc, doi:10.1126/science.1079107. Full Text

Granade, S. R., et al. “All-optical production of a degenerate Fermi gas..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 88, no. 12, Mar. 2002. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.88.120405. Full Text

Pages