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Ultracold Polar KRb Molecules in Optical Lattices

TitleUltracold Polar KRb Molecules in Optical Lattices
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsNeyenhuis, B
Academic DepartmentPhysics
Number of Pages141
UniversityUniversity of Colorado
CityBoulder, CO

The creation of a gas of ultracold polar molecules with a high phase space density brings new possibilities beyond experiments with ultracold atomic gases. In particular, long-range, anisotropic, and tunable dipole-dipole interactions open the way for novel quantum gases, with applications including strongly correlated many-body systems, and ultracold chemistry. This thesis will present the final steps to complete control over both internal and external degrees of freedom of the molecule which allows us to control, and even completely suppress, the chemical reactions between molecules.

First, the control over internal states has been achieved through coherent state transfer to the ro-vibronic ground state and coherent manipulations of the hyper ne and rotational states with microwave radiation. Second, external degrees of freedom are controlled by loading the gas into an optical lattice. With the molecules loaded into a one-dimensional lattice, the orientation of the molecular collisions is controlled by manipulating both internal (hyperfine states) and external (motional states in the direction of tight confinement) degrees of freedom. Most striking is that by preparing the molecules all in the lowest band of the lattice in the same internal state, the molecular collisions can only occur in a "side-by-side" orientation, where the chemical reaction rate is suppressed by the repulsive dipole-dipole interactions. The chemical reaction can be suppressed completely by further constraining the motion in the trap in a strong 3D lattice. Here we see lifetimes longer than 20 s, limited by o -resonant light scattering. Finally, the ac polarizability of the molecules is explored and controlled. The different rotational states of the molecule have different polarizabilities and will experience a di erent trapping force in both the optical dipole trap or lattice. We show that there is a "magic angle" between the quantization axis and the polarization of the trapping laser at which the polarizabilities of two di erent rotational states can be matched, eliminating dephasing and allowing for coherent manipulations between rotational states.