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Atomic Physics Seminars
Monday, April 9, 2007
Physics Building, Room 204
[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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