Ultracold Molecules in Optical Arrays: From Laser Cooling to Molecular Collisions
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CitationAnderegg, Loic. 2020. Ultracold Molecules in Optical Arrays: From Laser Cooling to Molecular Collisions. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractPotential wide-ranging scientific applications, spanning fundamental physics to quantum engineering, has led to significant efforts in controlling molecules at the quantum level. The rich internal structure of molecules, that gives rise to these desirable properties also complicates the task of controlling such species. Over the past decade, our ability to produce, control, and detect molecules has advanced tremendously with direct laser-cooling and magneto-optical trapping of diatomic molecules realized by several groups around the world.
In this thesis, we describe the creation of the first RF MOT of CaF, which at the time of the writing of this thesis, remains the largest and densest molecular MOT. New laser cooling techniques for molecules are demonstrated, allowing laser cooling of molecules to 4 uK, 50 times colder than the Doppler limit. Optical trapping of these molecules is also achieved, which, in combination with in-trap laser cooling increased the density of trapped molecules by five orders of magnitude compared to the density in the MOT. We developed methods to cool and detect single molecules with high fidelity, which aided us in the creation of an optical tweezer array of single, ultracold CaF molecules. The densities of molecules (10^12 cm^-3) attained inside the tweezer traps also enabled us to observe both light-assisted and ground state collisions of laser cooled molecules, for the first time. The phase space density within the merged tweezers reached 5x10^-4, 10 orders of magnitude larger than the initial MOT. We implemented internal quantum state control of the molecules and dynamical control of the tweezers to build a platform for exploring state-selective ultracold quantum chemistry.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365119
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