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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Apr 24;102(16):165302. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

Three-body recombination in a three-state Fermi gas with widely tunable interactions.

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Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802-6300, USA.


We investigate the stability of a three spin state mixture of ultracold fermionic 6Li atoms over a range of magnetic fields encompassing three Feshbach resonances. For most field values, we attribute decay of the atomic population to three-body processes involving one atom from each spin state and find that the three-body loss coefficient varies by over 4 orders of magnitude. We observe high stability when at least two of the three scattering lengths are small, rapid loss near the Feshbach resonances, and two unexpected resonant loss features. At our highest fields, where all pairwise scattering lengths are approaching a_{t}=-2140a_{0}, we measure a three-body loss coefficient L_{3} approximately 5x10;{-22} cm;{6}/s and a trend toward lower decay rates for higher fields indicating that future studies of color superfluidity and trion formation in a SU(3) symmetric Fermi gas may be feasible.

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