New York, USA – Many-body quantum systems can exhibit a striking degree of symmetry unparallelled in their classical counterparts. In real materials SU(N) symmetry is an idealization, but this symmetry is pristinely realized in fully controllable ultracold alkaline-earth atomic gases. Here, we study an SU(N)-symmetric Fermi liquid of 87Sr atoms, where N can be tuned to be as large as 10. In the deeply degenerate regime, we show through precise measurements of density fluctuations and expansion dynamics that the large N of spin states under SU(N) symmetry leads to pronounced interaction effects in a system with a nominally negligible interaction parameter. Accounting for these effects, we demonstrate thermometry accurate to 1% of the Fermi energy. We also demonstrate record speed for preparing degenerate Fermi seas enabled by the SU(N)-symmetric interactions, reaching T/TF = 0.22 with 10 nuclear spin states in 0.6 s working with a laser-cooled sample. This, along with the introduction of a new spin polarizing method, enables the operation of a three-dimensional optical lattice clock in the band insulating regime.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41567-020-0986-6