Letter abstract

Nature Physics 4, 622 - 626 (2008)
Published online: 22 June 2008 | doi:10.1038/nphys997

Subject Categories: Atomic and molecular physics | Quantum physics | Techniques and instrumentation

Efficient state transfer in an ultracold dense gas of heteronuclear molecules

S. Ospelkaus1, A. Pe'er1, K.-K. Ni1, J. J. Zirbel1, B. Neyenhuis1, S. Kotochigova2, P. S. Julienne3, J. Ye1 & D. S. Jin1


Polar molecules have bright prospects for novel quantum gases with long-range and anisotropic interactions1, and could find uses in quantum information science2 and in precision measurements3, 4, 5. However, high-density clouds of ultracold polar molecules have so far not been produced. Here, we report a key step towards this goal. We start from an ultracold dense gas of loosely bound 40K87Rb Feshbach molecules6, 7 with typical binding energies of a few hundred kilohertz, and coherently transfer these molecules in a single transfer step into a vibrational level of the ground-state molecular potential bound by more than 10 GHz. Starting with a single initial state prepared with Feshbach association8, we achieve a transfer efficiency of 84%. Given favourable Franck–Condon factors9, 10, the presented technique can be extended to access much more deeply bound vibrational levels and those exhibiting a significant dipole moment.

  1. JILA, National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Colorado, Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0440, USA
  2. Physics Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6082, USA
  3. Joint Quantum Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Maryland, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8423, USA

Correspondence to: J. Ye1 e-mail: junye@jilau1.colorado.edu

Correspondence to: D. S. Jin1 e-mail: jin@jilau1.colorado.edu