Illustration of the interaction between two ultracold molecules (surface) and the interaction between a molecular dipole and the electric field.
These principles were already known, but it was not clear how strong the electric field must be for this effect to occur. The research team found that the effect of the field is much stronger at low temperatures, because sticking times are longer and there is more time for the complex to start rotating and reach the initially inaccessible rotating states. “We computed the effect in several ways, using classical simulations and quantum mechanics, and found similar results. This gave us the confidence to make predictions that can be tested experimentally”, first author Marijn Man says.
Loss prevention and stability
So why is this study of these ultracold collisions important and relevant? Collisions between molecules often form the dominant loss mechanism in ultracold molecular gases, limiting the lifetime of the gas. By better understanding these collisions we might find a convenient way to prevent losses and make ultracold gases more stable. These ultracold gases can be used in many exciting applications, one of these applications is quantum simulation. Here the ultracold gas is used to mimic the behavior of interesting but poorly understood materials.
Tijs Karman is Assistant Professor in the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry department. The group is part of IMM. They aim to explain and predict properties of molecules, clusters, and molecular solids. Part of the research is to study quantum phenomena in molecular collisions. Karman focuses on theoretical research into collisions between ultracold molecules, which are promising for quantum computing and simulation. Ultimately realizing these applications requires understanding and controlling collisions and interactions between molecules.
Symmetry breaking in sticky collisions between ultracold molecules
Marijn P. Man, Gerrit C. Groenenboom, and Tijs Karman
Physical Review Letters 129, 243401 (2022)
For more information, please contact
Tijs Karman: t.karman [at] science.ru.nl
IMM Communications: imm-communication [at] ru.nl