The focus of the proposed project is on the quantum simulation and study of impurities strongly coupled to an environment, in particular a trapped quantum gas. These quantum mechanical quasi-particles play a key role in the dynamics of the macroscopic quantum liquid. This can be related to the general framework derived first for polarons in the context of solid state physics.
Currently, there is a strong interest in these objects in the field of ultracold atoms. The key idea is that models for the solid state, exhibiting a rich and non-trivial structure, can be emulated in a clean and controllable manner with ultracold atoms. We will solve polaron models for an impurity in a bosonic bath (the BEC polaron) and in a fermionic bath (the Fermi polaron), and study the implications for the experiments with ultra-cold atoms. This project is a joint effort of the University of Antwerp (UA) and the University of Ghent (UGent), combining their expertise in the theory of polarons, cold atoms and quantum simulation methods (path-integral methods and diagrammatic Monte Carlo).