Stuttgart 2012 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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A: Fachverband Atomphysik

A 20: SYRA 2: Ultracold Rydberg Atoms and Molecules 2

A 20.1: Hauptvortrag

Dienstag, 13. März 2012, 14:00–14:30, V47.01

Ultralong-range Rydberg molecules — •Thomas Pohl — MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany

Ultralong-range Rydberg molecules represent an extreme and peculiar example of chemical binding, where a ground state atom is bound inside the electronic wave function of a highly excited Rydberg atom. Owing to their large bond length of several thousand Bohr radii, these molecules - first produced in 2009 [1] - exhibit several unusual properties, some of which will be discussed in this talk.

Following a simplified discussion of the basic interaction mechanisms, I will describe more sophisticated calculations, which reveal, yet, another new binding mechanism based on internal quantum reflection [2]. Good agreement with experiments on ultracold Rubidium molecules, gives strong indication that the predicted molecular states indeed provide a manifestation of such elementary quantum phenomena. A close look at small-electric field effects uncovers the existence of a sizable molecular electric dipole moment [3], which comes as a surprise for homo-nuclear molecules.

Besides being of fundamental interest, such exotic molecules turn out to be also of relevance to other Rydberg-atom settings. In order to illustrate this point, I will consider their collective excitation dynamics in mesoscopic ultracold gases and discuss possible implications for ensemble-based quantum information/optics applications.

[1] V. Bendkowsky et al., Nature (London) 458, 1005 (2009)

[2] V. Bendkowsky et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 163201 (2010)

[3] W. Li et al., Science 334, 1110 (2011)

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