Building Single Molecules - Reactions, Collisions, and Spectroscopy of Two Atoms
CitationLiu, Lee R. 2019. Building Single Molecules - Reactions, Collisions, and Spectroscopy of Two Atoms. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractRecent theoretical and experimental advances have led to better understanding and control of simple molecules, bringing them to the forefront of quantum science. Diatomic polar molecules, with their vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom and electric dipole moment, are excellent candidates for a scalable qubit, probes of beyond-Standard Model physics, and quantum simulation of topological and chiral many-body systems. These applications call for high-phase space density (PSD) of molecules in a single quantum state. To date, the highest molecular PSD is achieved by coherently associating degenerate quantum gases of atoms into molecules. However, this requires fine-tuning of experimental parameters to maximize spatial overlap of the atomic density distributions while minimizing three-body recombination of the atoms.
In this thesis, we propose a bottom-up solution to gain single particle control of ultracold molecules for the first time. We use optical tweezers to deterministically assemble a single NaCs molecule in a single quantum state from a pair of Na and Cs atoms. Added benefits of using optical tweezers include: tight confinement of isolated atoms enabling cooling of Na and Cs to their quantum ground state of motion in less than 100~ms, and dynamic reconfigurability of optical tweezer arrays which will allow scaling up to defect-free arrays of single molecules. In the process, we realize a conceptually simple platform for studying atomic collisions and molecular spectra which derives its strength from the ability to gather "before" and "after" images of single atoms.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029478
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