Martin Zwierlein studies strongly interacting Fermi gases of atoms and molecules. These gases host novel states of matter and serve as pristine model systems for other Fermi systems, such as neutron stars or high-temperature superconductors. The group has provided precision measurements of the thermodynamics and transport of Fermi gases across the superfluid transition. Using a Fermi gas microscope with single-atom resolution, the team recently studied spin and charge correlations as well as spin transport in the Fermi-Hubbard model, see https://news.mit.edu/2018/atoms-electrons-high-temperature-superconductors-1206.
By controlling the motion of 400 fermion pairs under the microscope, the group has demonstrated a novel qubit, a quantum analogue of two coupled pendula, featuring coherence times on the scale of ten seconds, https://physics.mit.edu/news/vibrating-atoms-make-robust-qubits-physicists-find/.
A current focus is on spin, heat and Hall transport properties of strongly interacting Bose and Fermi gases, which have great importance for our understanding of modern materials. One highlight of this work is the measurement of sound propagation in strongly interacting Fermi gases, demonstrating “perfect fluidity’’ in a system that is analogous to dilute neutron matter, https://news.mit.edu/2020/sound-perfect-fluid-1203.
Recent work on rotating quantum gases mimics the behavior of electrons in high magnetic fields, as they enter the quantum Hall regime. A quantum analogue of weather pattern formation shows that quantum Hall states are unstable against interactions, https://physics.mit.edu/news/physicists-watch-as-ultracold-atoms-form-a-crystal-of-quantum-tornadoes/.
Lab/Group: Ultracold Quantum Gases
Martin Zwierlein is the Thomas A. Frank Professor of Physics at MIT and Principal Investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics and the NSF Center for Ultracold Atoms. Zwierlein studied physics at the University of Bonn and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, and received his PhD in experimental atomic physics from MIT in 2007, with a thesis supervised by Wolfgang Ketterle on the observation of superfluidity in atomic Fermi gases. After a postdoctoral stay at the University of Mainz in the group of Immanuel Bloch, he joined the MIT physics department in 2007, where he received tenure in 2012 and promotion to Full Professor in 2013.
Zwierlein’s awards include the Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank Prize (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), the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2010), the I.I. Rabi Prize of the American Physical Society (APS) (2017), the Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2019), and the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (2019). He is a Fellow of the APS (2016).
The new qubits stay in “superposition” for up to 10 seconds, and could make a promising foundation for quantum computers.
Awards & Honors
- 2021 // TOPTICA BEC (Bose-Einstein Condensation) Junior Award “for his pioneering contributions to the field of ultracold quantum gases, specifically Fermi and Bose polarons, rotating condensates, spin and charge transport and the unitary Fermi gas."
- 2019 // Humboldt Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
- 2019 // Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow, US Department of Defense
- 2018 // Thomas A. Frank Chair, MIT
- 2017 // I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (APS) "for seminal studies of ultracold Fermi gases, including precision measurements of the equation of state, the observation of superfluidity, solitons, vortices, and polarons, the realization of a microscope for fermions in a lattice; and the production of chemically stable polar molecules."
- 2016 // American Physical Society Fellow "For groundbreaking experiments with ultracold Fermi gases."
- 2012 // William W. Buechner Teaching Prize, MIT
- 2010 // Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President
- 2010 // David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellow
- 2010 // Young Faculty Award, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- 2010 // Young Investigator Award, Office of Naval Research
- 2010 // Young Investigator Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
- 2008 // Sloan Research Fellowship
- 2007 // Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank Prize, Freie Universität Berlin
- 2004 // Martin Deutsch Prize for Excellence in Experimental Physics, MIT
- 1998 // Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes Fellow
Parth B. Patel, Zhenjie Yan, Biswaroop Mukherjee, Richard J. Fletcher, Julian Struck, Martin W. Zwierlein. Universal Sound Diffusion in a Strongly Interacting Fermi Gas. Science 370, 1222-1226 (2020)
Zoe Z. Yan, Yiqi Ni, Carsten Robens, Martin W. Zwierlein.
Bose polarons near quantum criticality. Science, 368, 190-194 (2020)
Nichols, M.A., Cheuk, L.W., Okan, M., Hartke, T.R., Mendez, E., Senthil, T., Khatami, E., Zhang, H., and Zwierlein, M.W.
Spin Transport in a Mott Insulator of Ultracold Fermions. Science 363, 383 (2019)
Park J.W., Yan, Z.Z., Loh H., Will S.A., Zwierlein, M.W.
Second-Scale Nuclear Spin Coherence Time of Trapped Ultracold 23Na40K Molecules. Science 357, 372-375 (2017)
Cheuk, L.W., Nichols, M.A., Lawrence, K.R., Okan, M., Zhang, H., Khatami, E., Trivedi, N., Paiva, T., Rigol, M., Zwierlein, M.W.
Observation of Spatial Charge and Spin Correlations in the 2D Fermi-Hubbard Model. Science 353, 1260-1264 (2016)