MARTIN ZWIERLEIN, Francis L. Friedman Professor of Physics

Thomas A. Frank (1977) Professor of Physics
Division Head, Atomic, Biological, Condensed Matter Physics

EMAIL: zwierlei@mit.edu

PHONE: (617) 324-4310

OFFICE: 26-255

ASSISTANT: Joanna K. Welch (617) 253-6830


Area of Physics:

Atomic Physics

Research Interests

Martin Zwierlein’s research group studies ultracold gases of atoms near Absolute Zero temperature. At temperatures a million times colder than interstellar space, and at densities a million times thinner than air, quantum mechanics takes center stage: Atoms behave as waves, they interfere like laser light, and form novel states of matter, such as Bose-Einstein condensates and fermionic superfluids. In such a Fermi gas, atoms team up in pairs ("spin up" and "spin down") that can flow without friction. This has analogies to electron pairs in a superconductor that transport current without resistance. In contrast to bulk materials, in Zwierlein’s experiments one can freely tune the interaction between atoms and make it as strong as quantum mechanics allows. In this regime, fermion pairs are strongly bound and superfluidity is extremely robust. Scaled to the density of electrons in solids, superfluidity would in fact occur far above room temperature.

Recently, in an experiment they like to call the "Little Fermi Collider" (LFC), the group has managed to collide "spin up" and "spin down" clouds of atoms with extreme interactions and observed that these gases bounce off each other, despite their ultralow densities. Currently, the group studies strongly interacting Fermi gases in two dimensions and atomic gases in artificial crystals of light, so-called optical lattices. The goal is to use these gases as model systems for strongly interacting quantum matter, from High-Tc superconductors to Neutron Stars.

Biographical Sketch

Martin Zwierlein studied physics at the University of Bonn and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. His doctoral thesis in the group of Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT focused on the observation of superfluidity in ultracold fermionic gases, a novel form of strongly interacting matter. After a postdoctoral stay at the University of Mainz in the group of Immanuel Bloch, he joined the MIT physics department in 2007. His group is using ultracold atomic gases to study models of many-body physics relevant for condensed matter, nuclear and astrophysics. He and his team recently observed Fermi polarons and the quantum limit of diffusion in strongly interacting Fermi gases. His awards include the Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank-Prize, Freie Universität Berlin (2007), Young Investigator Awards from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research and DARPA (2010), a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship (2010) and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2010).


Popular Articles

Selected Publications

Last updated on October 30, 2019 4:35 PM