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We propose and analyze a variational wave function for a population-imbalanced one-dimensional Fermi gas that allows for Fulde-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) type pairing correlations among the two fermion species, while also accounting for the harmonic confining potential. In the strongly interacting regime, we find large spatial oscillations of the order parameter, indicative of an FFLO state. The obtained density profiles versus imbalance are consistent with recent experimental results as well as with theoretical calculations based on combining Bethe ansatz with the local density approximation. Our variational wave function displays no signature of the FFLO state in the densities of the two fermion species. Nonetheless, the oscillations of the order parameter appear in density-density correlations, both in situ and after free expansion. Furthermore, above a critical polarization, the value of which depends on the interaction, we find the unpaired Fermi-gas state to be energetically more favorable.

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Physical Review A