Martin Zwierlein

Thomas A. Frank (1977) Professor of Physics
Experiments on strongly interacting quantum gases of atoms and molecules, to realize and advance our understanding of novel states of matter.
Research Areas
Assistant: Joanna K. Welch
Assistant Phone: (617) 253-6830

Research Interests

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.

In other recent work with ultracold molecules, coherence times on the order of seconds were observed, spurring hopes for the future use of ultracold molecules in quantum information applications, see https://news.mit.edu/2017/ultracold-molecules-hold-promise-quantum-computing-qubit-0727.

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.

A recent highlight of this work was 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.

Lab/Group: Ultracold Quantum Gases

RLE Investigator Profile – Martin Zwierlein
Courtesy of RLEatMIT | YouTube

Biographical Sketch

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) and the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (2019). He is a Fellow of the APS (2016).

Awards & Honors

  • 2021 // TOPICA BEC (Bose-Einstein Condensation) Junior Award for “or 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 of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • 2019 // Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow, 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 // Fellow, American Physical Society
  • 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 // Fellow, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • 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 // Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • 2007 // Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank Prize, Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2004 // Martin Deutsch Prize for Excellence in Experimental Physics
  • 1998 // Fellow, Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

Key Publications

  • 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)