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We study resonantly-paired s-wave superfluidity in a degenerate gas of two species (hyperfine states labeled by ↑, ↓) of fermionic atoms when the numbers N↑ and N↓ of the two species are unequal, i.e., the system is "polarized." We find that the continuous crossover from the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) limit of tightly-bound diatomic molecules to the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) limit of weakly correlated Cooper pairs, studied extensively at equal populations, is interrupted by a variety of distinct phenomena under an imposed population difference ΔN ≡ N↑ - N↓. Our findings are summarized by a "polarization" (ΔN) versus Feshbach-resonance detuning (δ) zero-temperature phase diagram, which exhibits regions of phase separation, a periodic FFLO superfluid, a polarized normal Fermi gas and a polarized molecular superfluid consisting of a molecular condensate and a fully polarized Fermi gas. We describe numerous experimental signatures of such phases and the transitions between them, in particular focusing on their spatial structure in the inhomogeneous environment of an atomic trap. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Annals of Physics

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