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Ground-state Hartree-Fock-Bogoliubov (HFB) theory is applied to imbalanced spin-1/2 one-dimensional (1D) Fermi systems that are spatially confined by either a harmonic or a hard-wall trapping potential. It has been hoped that such systems, which can be realized using ultracold atomic gases, would exhibit the long-sought-after Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) superfluid phase. The HFB formalism generalizes the standard Bogoliubov quasiparticle transformation by allowing for Cooper pairing to exist between all possible single-particle states and accounts for the effects of the inhomogeneous trapping potential as well as the mean-field Hartree potential. This provides an unbiased framework to describe inhomogeneous densities and pairing correlations in the FFLO state of a confined 1D gas. In a harmonic trap, numerical minimization of the HFB ground-state energy yields a spatially oscillating order parameter reminiscent of the FFLO state. However, we find that this state has almost no imprint in the local fermion densities (consistent with experiments that found no evidence of the FFLO phase). In contrast, for a hard-wall geometry, we find a strong signature of the spatial oscillations of the FFLO pairing amplitude reflected in the local in situ densities. In the hard-wall case, the excess spins are strongly localized near regions where there is a node in the pairing amplitude, creating an unmistakable crystalline modulation of the density.

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Physical Review A