Effect of phase fluctuations on the Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov state in a three-dimensional Fermi gas
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Physical review : A : atomic, molecular and optical physics. - Lancaster, Pa, 1990 - 2015
, p. 1-10
University of Antwerp
In ultracold Fermi gases, the effect of spin imbalance on superfluidity has been the subject of intense study. One of the reasons for this is that spin imbalance frustrates the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) superfluid pairing mechanism, in which fermions in different spin states combine into Cooper pairs with zero momentum. In 1964, it was proposed that an exotic superfluid state called the Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) state, in which the Cooper pairs have nonzero momentum, could exist in a spin-imbalanced Fermi gas. At the saddle-point (mean-field) level, it has been shown that the FFLO state only occupies a very small sliver in the ground-state phase diagram of a three-dimensional (3D) Fermi gas. However, a question that remains to be investigated is as follows: What is the influence of phase fluctuations on the FFLO state? In this work, we show that phase fluctuations only lead to relatively small quantitative corrections to the presence of the FFLO state in the saddle-point phase diagram of a 3D spin-imbalanced Fermi gas. Starting from the partition function of the system, we calculate the effective action within the path-integral adiabatic approximation. The action is then expanded up to second order in the fluctuation field around the saddle point, leading to the fluctuation free energy. Using this free energy, we calculate corrections due to phase fluctuations to the BCS-FFLO transition in the saddle-point phase diagram. At temperatures at which the FFLO state exists, we find only small corrections to the size of the FFLO area. Our results suggest that fluctuations of the phase of the FFLO order parameter, which can be interpreted as an oscillation of its momentum vector, do not cause an instability of the FFLO state with respect to the BCS state.