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Brachmann, Johannes Felix Simon (2013): Towards 6Li - 40K ground state molecules. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics



The production of a quantum gas with strong long - range dipolar interactions is a major scientific goal in the research field of ultracold gases. In their ro - vibrational ground state Li -K dimers possess a large permanent dipole moment, which could possibly be exploited for the realization of such a quantum gas. A production of these molecules can be achieved by the association of Li and K at a Feshbach resonance, followed by a coherent state transfer. In this thesis, detailed theoretical an experimental preparations to achieve state transfer by means of Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage (STIRAP) are described. The theoretical preparations focus on the selection of an electronically excited molecular state that is suitable for STIRAP transfer. In this context, molecular transition dipole moments for both transitions involved in STIRAP transfer are predicted for the first time. This is achieved by the calculation of Franck -Condon factors and a determination of the state in which the 6Li - 40K Feshbach molecules are produced. The calculations show that state transfer by use of a single STIRAP sequence is experimentally very well feasible. Further, the optical wavelengths that are needed to address the selected states are calculated. The high accuracy of the data will allow to carry out the molecular spectroscopy in a fast and efficient manner. Further, only a comparatively narrow wavelength tuneability of the spectroscopy lasers is needed. The most suitable Feshbach resonance for the production of 6Li - 40K molecules at experimentally manageable magnetic field strengths is occurring at 155G. Experimentally, this resonance is investigated by means of cross - dimensional relaxation. The application of the technique at various magnetic field strengths in the vicinity of the 155G Feshbach resonance allows a determination of the resonance position and width with so far unreached precision. This reveals the production of molecules on the atomic side of the resonance, thereby establishing the first observation of a many body effect in the crossover regime of a narrow Feshbach resonance. Further, mass dependent factors, with which the equilibration of an induced anisotropic temperature of the trapped particle samples can be described, are experimentally determined for the first time. The type of resonance as well as the measured molecular lifetimes are found to be very well suited for STIRAP transfer. A Raman laser system is designed based on the transition wavelengths and durations of state transfer which are predicted. As the wavelengths of the Raman lasers differ widely but coherence of the light fields is needed, the technical realization of a laser system is challenging. As a part of the laser system, the construction and characterization of a reference optical resonator are presented. Laser frequency stabilization with a linewidth of approximately 500Hz and an Allan deviation below 10−12 for timespans up to several ten seconds are demonstrated. Further, the stabilization of a frequency comb to this reference laser is demonstrated. For the laser spectroscopy of electronically excited Li -K states an interferometric laser frequency stabilization will be used. The device is a commercial design, for which a calibration procedure that enhances the precision by several orders of magnitude is worked out within this thesis. The calibration scheme includes the precise measurement of the stabilization’s wavelength dependent frequency deviations by means of a frequency comb. By the implementation of several calibration steps a remaining frequency deviation of less than 5.7MHz (rms 1.6MHz) in the whole relevant wavelength range 750 - 795 nm is achieved. Only the exceptional precision of the fully calibrated device permits the usage for the Li -K spectroscopy, while the demonstrated wide tuning capability facilitates the completion of the latter in a fast and convenient manner.