Formation of magnetic impurities and pair-breaking effect in a superfluid Fermi gas

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We theoretically investigate the introduction of magnetic impurities into a superfluid Fermi gas. In the presence of a population imbalance (NN, where Nσ is the number of Fermi atoms with pseudospin σ), we show that nonmagnetic potential scatterers embedded in the system are magnetized in the sense that some of the excess spin- atoms are localized around them. They destroy the superfluid order parameter around them, as in the case of the magnetic impurity effect discussed in the superconductivity literature. This pair-breaking effect naturally leads to localized excited states below the superfluid excitation gap. To confirm our idea in a simple manner, we consider an attractive Fermi-Hubbard model within the mean-field theory at T=0. We determine consistent superfluid properties around a nonmagnetic impurity, such as the superfluid order parameter, local population imbalance, as well as the single-particle density of states, in the presence of a population imbalance. Since competition between superconductivity and magnetism is one of the most fundamental problems in condensed-matter physics, our results would be useful for the study of this important issue in cold Fermi gases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063611
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 10

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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