Optically Trapped Fermi Gases
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When a cloud of atoms is chilled to a tiny fraction of a degree above absolute zero, peculiar quantum effects become manifest. Depending on the type of atom involved, the cloud can form either a Bose-Einstein condensate or a degenerate Fermi gas. The authors probe the degenerate Fermi gases they created in their laboratory using lasers to trap and cool the atoms. Such gases mimic other "extreme" physical systems, such as the highly compressed interiors of neutron stars, and may provide a scale model to aid in the quest for room-temperature superconductors.