Thermal versus quantum fluctuations of optical-lattice fermions
Campo, V. L., Jr.
Scarola, V. W.
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We show that, for fermionic atoms in a one-dimensional optical lattice, the fraction of atoms in doubly occupied sites is a highly nonmonotonic function of temperature. We demonstrate that this property persists even in the presence of realistic harmonic confinement, and that it leads to a suppression of entropy at intermediate temperatures that offers a route to adiabatic cooling. Our interpretation of the suppression is that such intermediate temperatures are simultaneously too high for quantum coherence and too low for significant thermal excitation of double occupancy thus offering a clear indicator of the onset of quantum fluctuations.