Nonrelativistic conformal field theory and trapped atoms: Virial theorems and the state-operator correspondence in three dimensions
The field theory of nonrelativistic fermions interacting via contact interactions can be used to calculate the properties of few-body systems of cold atoms confined in harmonic traps. The state-operator correspondence of nonrelativistic conformal field theory (NRCFT) shows that the energy eigenvalues (in oscillator units) of N harmonically trapped fermions can be calculated from the scaling dimensions of N -fermion operators in the NRCFT. They are also in one-to-one correspondence with zero energy, scale-invariant solutions to the N -body problem in free space. We show that these two mappings of the trapped fermion problem to free space problems are related by an automorphism of the SL (2,R) algebra of the conformal symmetry of fermions at the unitary limit. This automorphism exchanges the internal Hamiltonian of the gas with the trapping potential and hence provides a method for deriving virial theorems for trapped Fermi gases at the unitary limit. We also show that the state-operator correspondence can be applied directly in three spatial dimensions by calculating the scaling dimensions of two- and three-fermion operators and finding agreement with known exact results for energy levels of two and three trapped fermions at the unitary limit. © 2008 The American Physical Society.
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