Direct laser cooling and trapping of diatomic molecules (Prof. D. DeMille)

  • Date: Jul 29, 2015
  • Time: 13:30 - 15:00
  • Speaker: Professor Dr. David DeMille, Yale University
  • Room: Herbert Walther Lecture Hall
  • Host: MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Division
It was long considered a practical impossibility to extend the methods of laser cooling and trapping to diatomic molecules.

Here, unlike in atoms, photon absorption can excite the internal degrees of freedom (vibration and rotation); this both interrupts the optical cycling needed for motional cooling and leads to internal-state heating. This talk will describe our recent demonstrations that, nevertheless, methods of standard atomic laser cooling and trapping can be applied to some molecules. We have achieved sub-Doppler cooling in 1-D, radiation pressure slowing of a molecular beam, and most recently 3-D magneto-optical trapping of SrF molecules at temperatures below 1 mK. This promises to open a wide range of scientific applications, from precision measurements, to quantum information and quantum simulation, to precise control over chemical reactions. In this talk I will discuss our methods and results, and give an outlook on possible future directions.

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