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Ultracold Molecules

Content About: Ultracold Molecules

Published: 12/19/2016 - 12:01pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Deborah Jin, Jun Ye, and their students wrote a review during the summer of 2016 for Nature Physics highlighting the accomplishments and future directions of the relatively new field of ultracold-molecule research. The field was pioneered by the group’s creation of the world’s first gas of ultracold potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules in 2008.

The molecules were made by first creating...

Published: 04/21/2016 - 8:24am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Move over, single-atom laser cooling! The Holland theory group has just come up with a stunning idea for a new kind of laser cooling for use with ensembles of atoms that all “talk” to each other. In other words, the theory looks at laser cooling not from the perspective of cooling a single atom, but rather from the perspective of many atoms working together to rapidly cool themselves to a...

Published: 04/20/2016 - 1:04pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The old JILA molecule factory (built in 2002) produced the world’s first ultracold polar molecules [potassium-rubidium (KRb)] in 2008. The old factory has been used since then for ultracold chemistry investigations and studies of the quantum behavior of ultracold molecules and the atoms that form them. The Jin-Ye group, which runs the molecule factory, is now wrapping up operations in the old...

Published: 12/16/2015 - 12:31pm Type of Content: News

President Obama has selected JILA Fellow Jun Ye of NIST's Quantum Physics Division to receive a 2015 Presidential Rank Award. The award cited Ye's work advancing "the frontier of light-matter interaction and focusing on precision measurement, quantum physics and ultracold matter, optical frequency metrology, and ultrafast science."

The Presidential Rank Awards honor a select group...

Published: 11/06/2015 - 7:59am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

JILA’s cold molecule collaboration (Jin and Ye Groups, with theory support from the Rey Group) recently made a breakthrough in its efforts to use ultracold polar molecules to study the complex physics of large numbers of interacting quantum particles. By closely packing the molecules into a 3D optical lattice (a sort of “crystal of light”), the team was able to create the first “highly...

Published: 07/20/2015 - 8:16am Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin has been selected as chair-elect of the American Physical Society (APS) Nominating Committee. Beginning January 1, 2016, she will serve one year as Chair Elect, a year as Chair, and a year as Past Chair of the committee. The committee is charged with preparing a slate of at least two candidates for the positions of Vice President, Treasurer, Chair Elect of the Nominating Committee...

Published: 02/27/2015 - 11:36am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

When the Rey theory group first modeled a quantum system at JILA, it investigated the interactions of strontium atoms in the Ye group’s strontium-lattice clock. The quantum behavior of these collective interactions was relatively simple to model. However, the group has now successfully tackled some more complicated systems, including the ultracold polar KRb molecule experiment run by the Jin...

Published: 10/31/2014 - 7:40am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

New theory describing the spin behavior of ultracold polar molecules is opening the door to explorations of exciting, new physics in JILA’s cold molecular lab, operated by the Jin and Ye groups. According to the Rey theory group and its collaborators, ultracold dipolar molecules can do even more interesting things than swapping spins. For instance, spin swapping occurs naturally when ultracold...

Published: 03/05/2014 - 8:32am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

There’s exciting news from JILA’s ultracold molecule collaboration. The Jin, Ye, Holland, and Rey groups have come up with new theory (verified by experiment) that explains the suppression of chemical reactions between potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules in the KRb quantum simulator. The main reason the molecules do not collide and react is continuous measurement of molecule loss from the...

Published: 01/16/2014 - 10:44am Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin has been awarded the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics by the National Academy of Sciences. The Comstock Prize recognizes an innovative discovery by a North American resident in the fields of electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy.

Jin received this year’s Comstock Prize for “demonstrating quantum degeneracy and the formation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate in...

Published: 08/13/2013 - 2:21pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Research associate Bo Yan and his colleagues recently observed spin exchanges in ultracold potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules inside an optical lattice (a crystal of light formed by interacting laser beams). In solid materials, such spin exchanges are the building blocks of advanced materials and exotic behavior.

The spin exchanges occurred when a rotationally excited KRb molecule...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 10:03am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group has opened a new gateway into the relatively unexplored terrain of ultracold chemistry. Research associate Matt Hummon, graduate students Mark Yeo and Alejandra Collopy, newly minted Ph.D. Ben Stuhl, Fellow Jun Ye, and a visiting colleague Yong Xia (East China Normal University) have built a magneto-optical trap (MOT) for yttrium oxide (YO) molecules (Figure 1). The two-...

Published: 09/26/2013 - 2:32pm Type of Content: Video Gallery

Professor Deborah Jin and her team invented an ingenious method of cooling molecules down to near absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature -- which has the effect of slowing them down. In fact, they slow down enough for researchers to actually see what goes on during chemical reactions. The study of ultra-cold molecules could lead to new precision-measurement tools, new methods for...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 1:01pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye and Bohn groups have made a major advance in the quest to prepare “real-world” molecules at ultracold temperatures. As recently reported in Nature, graduate students Ben Stuhl and Mark Yeo, research associate Matt Hummon, and Fellow Jun Ye succeeded in cooling hydroxyl radical molecules (*OH) down to temperatures of no more than five thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (5mK)....

Published: 09/13/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Physicists would very much like to understand the physics underlying high-temperature superconductors. Such an understanding may lead to the design of room temperature superconductors for use in highly efficient and much lower-cost transmission networks for electricity. A technological breakthrough like this would drastically reduce world energy costs. However, this breakthrough requires a...

Published: 09/01/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group has built a cool new system for studying cold collisions between molecules. The system is far colder than a typical chemistry experiment that takes place at room temperature or hotter (300–500 K). But, it’s also much warmer than experiments that investigate ultracold-molecule collisions conducted at hundreds of billionths of a degree above absolute zero (0 K). The new system is...

Published: 04/08/2010 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Fellows Deborah Jin, Jun Ye, and John Bohn are exploring new scientific territory in cold-molecule chemistry. Experimentalists Jin and Ye and their colleagues can now manipulate, observe, and control ultralow-temperature potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules in their lowest quantum-mechanical state. Theorist Bohn analyzes what the experimentalists see and predicts molecule behaviors under...

Published: 04/08/2010 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The cold-molecule collaboration has developed a method for directly imaging ultracold ground-state KRb molecules. Their old method required the transfer of ultracold KRb molecules into a Feshbach state, which is sensitive to electric and magnetic fields. Thus researchers had to turn off the electric field and keep the magnetic field at a fixed value during the imaging process. However, the...

Published: 04/08/2009 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Understanding how molecules collide is a hot topic in ultracold physics. Knowing the number of times molecules crash into each other and what happens when they do helps theorists predict the best ways to cool molecules to merely cold (1 K–1 mK), pretty cold (1 mK–1 µk), or ultracold (< 1 µK) temperatures.

Fellow John Bohn recently decided to investigate...

Published: 09/29/2008 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Jin and Ye groups recently crafted an entirely new form of matter — tens of thousands of ultracold polar molecules in their lowest energy state. The ground-state molecules are too cold to exist naturally anywhere in the Universe. But, like the Bose-Einstein condensates discovered in the mid-1990s, they promise to open the door to unprecedented explorations of the quantum world, including...

Published: 02/09/2008 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

When the Jin and Ye group collaboration wanted to investigate the creation of stable ultracold polar molecules, the researchers initially decided to make ultracold KRb (potassium-rubidium) molecules and then study their collision behavior. Making the molecules required a cloud of incredibly cold K and Rb atoms, the ability to apply a magnetic field of just the right strength to induce a...

Published: 04/08/2007 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

A second wave has appeared on the horizon of ultracold atom research. Known as the p-wave, it is opening the door to probing rich new physics, including unexplored quantum phase transitions. The first wave of ultracold atom research focused on s-wave pairing between atoms, where the “s” meant the resultant molecules are not rotating. In contrast, p-waves involve higher-order...

Published: 04/08/2007 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Researchers from the Ye, Bohn, and Greene groups are busy exploring a cold new world crawling with polar hydroxyl radical (OH) molecules. The JILA experimentalists have already discovered how to cool OH to “lukewarm” temperatures of 30 mK. They’ve precisely measured four OH transition frequencies that will help physicists determine whether the fine structure constant has...

Published: 02/09/2006 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

When molecules smash into each other, things happen on the quantum level. Electrons get shoved around. They may even jump from one atom to another. Spin directions can change. A chemical reaction may even take place. Since it's not possible to directly observe this kind of electron behavior, scientists want to be able to probe it with novel spectroscopies. Now, thanks to a recent...

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Published: 03/12/2013 - 11:52am Type of Content: Research Areas
KRb Molecules: A New Form of Matter

During 2008 and 2009, the Jun Ye and Deborah Jin groups crafted an entirely new form of matter consisting of tens of thousands of ultracold potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules in their lowest energy, or ground, state. In the ground state, the molecules’ vibrations, rotations, and nuclear spin states were as low as allowed by the laws of quantum mechanics...

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