Degenerate Bose-Fermi mixture of metastable atoms

J.M. McNamara, T. Jeltes, A. Tychkov, W. Hogervorst, W. Vassen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We report the observation of simultaneous quantum degeneracy in a dilute gaseous Bose-Fermi mixture of metastable atoms. Sympathetic cooling of helium-3 (fermion) by helium-4 (boson), both in the lowest triplet state, allows us to produce ensembles containing more than 106 atoms of each isotope at temperatures below 1μK, and achieve a fermionic degeneracy parameter of T/TF=0.45. Because of their high internal energy, the detection of individual metastable atoms with subnanosecond time resolution is possible, permitting the study of bosonic and fermionic quantum gases with unprecedented precision. This may lead to metastable helium becoming the mainstay of quantum atom optics. © 2006 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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