Superfluid Fermi atomic gas as a quantum simulator for the study of neutron-star equation of state

Pieter van Wyk, Hiroyuki Tajima, Daisuke Inotani, Akira Ohnishi, Yoji Ohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We theoretically propose an idea to use an ultracold Fermi gas as a quantum simulator for the study of the neutron-star equation of state (EoS) in the low-density region. Our idea is different from the standard quantum simulator that heads for perfect replication of another system, such as a Hubbard model discussed in high-Tc cuprates. Instead, we use the similarity between two systems, and theoretically make up for the difference between them. That is, (1) we first show that the strong-coupling theory developed by Nozières-Schmitt Rink (NSR) can quantitatively explain the recent EoS experiment on a 6Li superfluid Fermi gas in the BCS (Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer)unitary limit far below the superfluid phase transition temperature Tc. This region is considered to be very similar to the low density region (crust regime) of a neutron star (where a nearly unitary s-wave neutron superfluid is expected). (2) We then theoretically compensate the difference that, while the effective range reff is negligibly small in a superfluid 6Li Fermi gas, it cannot be ignored (reff = 2.7 fm) in a neutron star, by extending the NSR theory to include effects of reff. The calculated EoS when reff = 2.7 fm is shown to agree well with the previous neutron-star EoS in the low density region predicted in nuclear physics. Our idea indicates that an ultracold atomic gas may more flexibly be used as a quantum simulator for the study of other complicated quantum many-body systems, when we use, not only the experimental high tunability, but also the recent theoretical development in this field. Since it is difficult to directly observe a neutron-star interior, our idea would provide a useful approach to the exploration for this mysterious astronomical object.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUnknown Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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