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Observation of a Pairing Pseudogap in a Two-Dimensional Fermi Gas

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Observation of a Pairing Pseudogap in a Two-Dimensional Fermi Gas

Michael Feld et al. Nature.

Abstract

Pairing of fermions is ubiquitous in nature, underlying many phenomena. Examples include superconductivity, superfluidity of (3)He, the anomalous rotation of neutron stars, and the crossover between Bose-Einstein condensation of dimers and the BCS (Bardeen, Cooper and Schrieffer) regime in strongly interacting Fermi gases. When confined to two dimensions, interacting many-body systems show even more subtle effects, many of which are not understood at a fundamental level. Most striking is the (as yet unexplained) phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity in copper oxides, which is intimately related to the two-dimensional geometry of the crystal structure. In particular, it is not understood how the many-body pairing is established at high temperature, and whether it precedes superconductivity. Here we report the observation of a many-body pairing gap above the superfluid transition temperature in a harmonically trapped, two-dimensional atomic Fermi gas in the regime of strong coupling. Our measurements of the spectral function of the gas are performed using momentum-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, analogous to angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy in the solid state. Our observations mark a significant step in the emulation of layered two-dimensional strongly correlated superconductors using ultracold atomic gases.

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