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VOLUME 92 (2010) | ISSUE 7 | PAGE 534
``Moth-eaten effect" driven by Pauli blocking, revealed for Cooper pairs
We extend the well-known Cooper's problem beyond one pair and study how this dilute limit is connected to the many-pair BCS condensate. We find that, all over from the dilute to the dense regime of pairs, Pauli blocking induces the same ``moth-eaten effect" as the one existing for composite boson excitons. This effect makes the average pair binding energy decrease linearly with pair number, bringing it, in the standard BCS configuration, to half the single-pair value. This proves that, at odds with popular understanding, the BCS gap is far larger than the broken pair energy. The increase comes from Pauli blocking between broken and unbroken pairs. Possible link between our result and the BEC-BCS crossover is also discussed.