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Interacting gases of ultracold polar molecules
Interacting gases of ultracold polar molecules
Ultracold quantum gases are versatile model systems for exploring quantum physics or for the simulation of solid state materials. Meanwhile, they have been created from various atomic species - from alkali metals over alkaline earths to rare earth elements. The latest addition are quantum gases of different kinds of polar molecules. Expectations for quantum gases of heteronuclear molecules are high: Due to their large electric dipole moments, these molecules can interact with each other via long-range interactions - not just via contact interactions as is the case for most atoms. Additionally, they have vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom, with open up new possibilities for quantum simulation. But the same degrees of freedom also pose some challenges. For example, they make the preparation of the quantum gas more difficult, which is typically produced with a combination of laser cooling and evaporative cooling in the atomic case. Molecules mostly lack closed transitions in their spectra, which are required for laser cooling. Therefore, we create our molecular quantum gas from a mixture of two atomic quantum gases. In this work, such an experimental method was developed for fermionic NaK molecules, which is based on the two-photon process Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage (STIRAP). Within STIRAP, the hyperfine structure of the chosen intermediate state plays an important role. Experimentally, and with the help of a theoretical model describing the whole process, we find that we produce the most molecules when we use a large one-photon detuning, if the hyperfine structure of the intermediate state is unresolved. In another project, we explored the rotational level structure of the molecular ground state populated by STIRAP. Rotation is closely linked to the electric dipole moment. The superposition of the ground state with the first excited rotational state, for example, has a transition dipole moment of almost 60% of the permanent electric dipole moment. Unfortunately, coherence times of such superpositions are typically short, as the different polarizabilities of the rotational states lead to dephasing in optical traps. However, using a special polarization angle and a small, dc electric field, we can compensate these differences and realize a spin-decoupled magic trap. With this new technique we obtain record coherence times, at least for small molecular densities. For larger densities we observe first indications for dipolar interactions in a bulk gas of polar molecules, which we also model using the moving-average cluster expansion (MACE).
Physics, Quantum Optics, Ultracold Atoms, Ultracold Molecules, STIRAP
Seeßelberg, Frauke
2019
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Seeßelberg, Frauke (2019): Interacting gases of ultracold polar molecules. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics
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Abstract

Ultracold quantum gases are versatile model systems for exploring quantum physics or for the simulation of solid state materials. Meanwhile, they have been created from various atomic species - from alkali metals over alkaline earths to rare earth elements. The latest addition are quantum gases of different kinds of polar molecules. Expectations for quantum gases of heteronuclear molecules are high: Due to their large electric dipole moments, these molecules can interact with each other via long-range interactions - not just via contact interactions as is the case for most atoms. Additionally, they have vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom, with open up new possibilities for quantum simulation. But the same degrees of freedom also pose some challenges. For example, they make the preparation of the quantum gas more difficult, which is typically produced with a combination of laser cooling and evaporative cooling in the atomic case. Molecules mostly lack closed transitions in their spectra, which are required for laser cooling. Therefore, we create our molecular quantum gas from a mixture of two atomic quantum gases. In this work, such an experimental method was developed for fermionic NaK molecules, which is based on the two-photon process Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage (STIRAP). Within STIRAP, the hyperfine structure of the chosen intermediate state plays an important role. Experimentally, and with the help of a theoretical model describing the whole process, we find that we produce the most molecules when we use a large one-photon detuning, if the hyperfine structure of the intermediate state is unresolved. In another project, we explored the rotational level structure of the molecular ground state populated by STIRAP. Rotation is closely linked to the electric dipole moment. The superposition of the ground state with the first excited rotational state, for example, has a transition dipole moment of almost 60% of the permanent electric dipole moment. Unfortunately, coherence times of such superpositions are typically short, as the different polarizabilities of the rotational states lead to dephasing in optical traps. However, using a special polarization angle and a small, dc electric field, we can compensate these differences and realize a spin-decoupled magic trap. With this new technique we obtain record coherence times, at least for small molecular densities. For larger densities we observe first indications for dipolar interactions in a bulk gas of polar molecules, which we also model using the moving-average cluster expansion (MACE).