We theoretically study the dynamics of an adiabatic sweep through a Feshbach resonance, thereby converting a degenerate quantum gas of fermionic atoms into a degenerate quantum gas of bosonic dimers. Our analysis relies on a zero temperature mean-field theory which accurately accounts for initial molecular quantum fluctuations, triggering the association process. The structure of the resulting semiclassical phase space is investigated, highlighting the dynamical instability of the system towards association, for sufficiently small detuning from resonance. It is shown that this instability significantly modifies the finite-rate efficiency of the sweep, transforming the single-pair exponential Landau-Zener behavior of the remnant fraction of atoms Γ on sweep rate α, into a power-law dependence as the number of atoms increases. The obtained nonadiabaticity is determined from the interplay of characteristic time scales for the motion of adiabatic eigenstates and for fast periodic motion around them. Critical slowing-down of these precessions near the instability leads to the power-law dependence. A linear power law Γ α is obtained when the initial molecular fraction is smaller than the 1 N quantum fluctuations, and a cubic-root power law Γ α1 3 is attained when it is larger. Our mean-field analysis is confirmed by exact calculations, using Fock-space expansions. Finally, we fit experimental low temperature Feshbach sweep data with a power-law dependence. While the agreement with the experimental data is well within experimental error bars, similar accuracy can be obtained with an exponential fit, making additional data highly desirable.
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|State||Published - 21 Apr 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics