Chen, Xing-Yan (2023): Microwave-shielded ultracold polar molecules. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics |

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**DOI**: 10.5282/edoc.32631

### Abstract

Since the realization of Bose--Einstein condensates and degenerate Fermi gases, ultracold atoms with tunable interactions have become an essential platform for studying quantum many-body phenomena. Notable examples include the realization of BCS--BEC crossover and the simulation of the Bose/Fermi Hubbard model. Ultracold polar molecules could enrich the quantum gas toolbox with their long-range dipole-dipole interaction, which offers not only new opportunities in many-body physics, such as realizing the topological superfluid and the extended Hubbard model, but also applications in quantum chemistry, quantum computation, and precision measurements. However, the large number of internal degrees of freedom of molecules present a significant challenge in both cooling them to quantum degeneracy and controlling their interactions. Unlike atomic gases, a dense molecular sample suffers from fast collisional losses, preventing the implementation of evaporative cooling and the observation of scattering resonances. In this thesis, we describe how we solved the long-standing issue of collisional losses by microwave shielding, created a degenerate Fermi gas of NaK molecules, and discovered a new type of scattering resonances via which we created the first ultracold tetratomic molecules in the 100-nK regime. By synchronizing the rotation of polar molecules with a circularly polarized microwave electric field, we equip the molecular sample with a highly tunable intermolecular potential. This not only stabilizes the gas against inelastic collisions but also enables field-linked scattering resonances for precise control over scattering lengths. At long range, the molecules interact via their induced rotating dipole moments. As they approach each other, their orientations realign to produce a repulsive force, thereby mitigating inelastic collisions at close distances. With an elastic-to-inelastic collision ratio of 500, we have achieved evaporative cooling of the molecular gas down to 21 nK and 0.36 times the Fermi temperature, setting a new record for the coldest polar molecular gas to date. Thanks to the collisional stability of microwave-shielded molecules, we can directly load them into predominantly a single layer of a magic 3D optical lattice, achieving a peak filling fraction of 24%. These ultracold molecules, owing to their long lifetimes in their ground state and their long-range dipolar coupling, provide a unique platform to study quantum magnetism. With the achieved high filling fraction, we are prepared to study non-equilibrium spin dynamics such as rotational synchronization and spin squeezing. We demonstrated that the interaction between microwave-shielded polar molecules is highly tunable via the microwave power, detuning, and polarization. When the interaction potential is deep enough to host field-linked bound states at the collisional threshold, a shape resonance is induced, allowing us to tune the scattering rate by three orders of magnitude. The field-linked resonances enables controls over the scattering length in a similar fashion as Feshbach resonance for ultracold atoms, promising the realization of strongly correlated phases, such as dipolar $p$-wave superfluid. It also paves the way to investigate the interplay between short-range and long-range interactions in novel quantum matters, such as exotic supersolid. Moreover, through a field-linked resonance, we associated for the first time weakly bound tetratomic molecules in the 100-nK regime, with a phase space density of 0.04. The transition from a Fermi gas of diatomic molecules to a Bose gas of tetratomic molecules paves the way for dipolar BCS--BEC crossover. With microwave-shielded polar molecules, we have realized a quantum gas featuring highly tunable long-range interactions. The technique is universal to polar molecules with a sufficiently large dipole moment, and thus offers a general strategy for cooling and manipulating polar molecules, and for associating weakly bound ultracold polyatomic molecules. Utilizing the toolbox developed in ultracold atoms, this platform possesses the potential to unlock an entirely new realm of quantum simulation of many-body physics.

Item Type: | Theses (Dissertation, LMU Munich) |
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Keywords: | Ultracold Polar Molecules, Microwave Shielding, Quantum Gas, Long-Range Interaction, Field-Linked Resonances, Ultracold Polyatomic Molecules, Optical Lattices, Spin Models |

Subjects: | 500 Natural sciences and mathematics 500 Natural sciences and mathematics > 530 Physics |

Faculties: | Faculty of Physics |

Language: | English |

Date of oral examination: | 20. October 2023 |

1. Referee: | Bloch, Immanuel |

MD5 Checksum of the PDF-file: | b63aee60c298eea0d57cbac8982a65c5 |

Signature of the printed copy: | 0001/UMC 29972 |

ID Code: | 32631 |

Deposited On: | 27. Oct 2023 11:51 |

Last Modified: | 27. Oct 2023 11:51 |