In our group, we experimentally create model systems to study the quantum mechanics of many interacting particles. To do so, we use ensembles of atoms which we cool to nano-Kelvin temperatures. In pioneering experiments performed in Zürich we have demonstrated that these gases can indeed serve as model systems of quantum many-body physics. We have created the first one-dimensional atomic gases and bridged the gap between solid state and atomic physics by realizing the direct equivalent of solid state phases with ultracold fermions. Examples include metallic, band and Mott insulating states of matter.
The model systems realised offer a new approach to addressing questions of many-body quantum physics which are still unresolved despite intense research efforts. These questions embrace fields as varied as the origin of high-temperature superconductivity or the non-equilibrium physics of strongly correlated systems. In the future we will endeavor to reach a new level of control over these quantum systems: This will allow us to realise two-dimensional and mesoscopic quantum matter and investigate the equilibrium and non-equlibrium physics of strongly correlated systems.