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Atomic Physics Seminars

ics Atomic
Monday, April 9, 2007
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Benjamin Lev [Host: Cass Sackett]
"OH Stark deceleration: magnetic trapping, molecular qubits, and cavity-assisted laser cooling"
The experimental realization of large samples of ultracold, ground state polar molecules would be a major breakthrough for research in ultracold collisions and chemistry, quantum information processing, and the study of novel states of matter. To accomplish this goal, our research employs a Stark decelerator to slow a supersonic expansion of OH in its rovibronic ground state. At the decelerator's terminus, a 30 mK OH packet of density 10 4 cm -3 is caught and confined in a magnetic quadrupole trap. An adjustable electric field of sufficient magnitude to completely polarize the OH is superimposed on the trap in either a quadrupole or homogenous field geometry. The trap dynamics deviate from that governed by simple addition of the fields' forces on OH's magnetic and electric dipoles. Confinement of cold polar molecules in a magnetic trap, leaving large, adjustable electric fields for control, is an important step towards the study of low energy dipole-dipole collisions. The cold molecular packets produced via Stark deceleration have enabled us to perform precision microwave spectroscopy of the OH ground state structure, which serves as an important system for constraining variation of fundamental constants and for molecular quantum information processing. Future experiments will require much colder molecules, and we will briefly discuss prospects for cavity-assisted laser cooling of OH.

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