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Quantum physics

Cold fermions keep their distance

München, 01/07/2016

Scientists at LMU and MPQ observe “Pauli blocking” between fermionic lithium atoms in an optical lattice.

Single atom resolved fluorescence image of a band insulator of fermionic lithium in an optical lattice. (Picture: MPQ, Quantum Many Body Systems Division)

The microcosm is governed by its own laws – the rules of quantum mechanics. They describe, for instance, the statistical behaviour of elementary particles. Electrons and all the other constituents of atoms belong to the group of fermions that are never allowed to share identical quantum numbers. This “exclusion principle” was formulated by the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1925 in order to explain the structure and the stability of atoms. Today, quantum optical experiments provide methods to prove the rules that have been thought of and pressed into elegant mathematical equations in those days. In this regard, scientists led by Professor Immanuel Bloch, Professor of Experimental Physics at LMU Munich and director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have made a big step forward .

(Physical Review Letters 2015)                          MPQ/LMU

Press release of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics