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Disentangling Pauli blocking of atomic decay from cooperative radiation and atomic motion in a 2D Fermi gas

Bilitewski, Thomas
Orioli, Asier Piñeiro
Sanner, Christian
Sonderhouse, Lindsay
Hutson, Ross B.
Yan, Lingfeng
Milner, William R.
Ye, Jun
Rey, Ana Maria
The observation of Pauli blocking of atomic spontaneous decay via direct measurements of the atomic population requires the use of long-lived atomic gases where quantum statistics, atom recoil and cooperative radiative processes are all relevant. We develop a theoretical framework capable of simultaneously accounting for all these effects in a regime where prior theoretical approaches based on semi-classical non-interacting or interacting frozen atom approximations fail. We apply it to atoms in a single 2D pancake or arrays of pancakes featuring an effective A level structure (one excited and two degenerate ground states). We identify a parameter window in which a factor of two extension in the atomic lifetime clearly attributable to Pauli blocking should be experimentally observable in deeply degenerate gases with~103 atoms. Our predictions are supported by observation of a number-dependent excited state decay rate on the 1S0 - 3P1 transition in 87Sr atoms.