Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Shiwei Zhang

Committee Member

Seth Aubin

Committee Member

Henry Krakauer

Committee Member

Enrico Rossi

Committee Member

Weizhen Mao


Strongly interacting many-body systems remain a central challenge of modern physics. Recent developments in the field of ultra-cold atomic physics have opened a new window onto this enduring problem. Experimental progress has revolutionized the approach to studying many-body systems and the exotic behaviors that emerge in these systems. It is now possible to engineer and directly measure a variety of models that can capture the essential features of real materials without the added complexity of disorder, impurities, or complicated or irregular geometries. The parameters of these models can be freely tuned with tremendous precision. These experimental realizations are an ideal setting in which to test and calibrate computational many-body methods that can provide insight and quantitative understanding to many of the open questions in condensed matter and many-body physics. in this thesis we study several models of strongly interacting many-fermion systems using cutting-edge numerical techniques including Hartree-Fock-Bogoliubov (HFB) mean-field theory and auxiliary-field quantum Monte Carlo (AFQMC). We explore the exotic phases and behaviors that emerge in these systems, beginning with finite-momentum pairing states in attractive spin-polarized fermions. We next demonstrate the unique capability of AFQMC to treat systems with spin-orbit coupling (SOC). We obtain high-precision, and in many cases numerically exact, results on SOC systems that can eventually be compared directly to experiment. The first system we highlight is the attractive Fermi gas with Rashba SOC, which displays unconventional pairing, charge, and spin properties. We then study the coexistence of charge and superfluid order, as well as topological signatures, in attractive lattice fermions with Rashba SOC. Our results provide a new, high-accuracy understanding of a strongly interacting many-body system and its exotic behaviors. These techniques can serve as a general framework for the treatment of strong interactions and SOC in many-body systems, and provide a foundation for future work on exotic phases in models and real materials.




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