Evaporating molecules to a quantum gas requires reducing collisional loss rates. For fermionic molecules this has recently been achieved by “microwave shielding” which induces repulsive interactions between the molecules. Similarly reducing collisional loss for bosonic molecules is challenging because they can collide at ultracold temperatures without the centrifugal barrier that gives fermionic molecules additional protection. Therefore, orders of magnitude improvement in the protection of these molecules is required.
The research team demonstrated an order of magnitude improvement in ‘shielding’ in collisions, which should enable efficient evaporation. This greatly reduces losses and extends the lifetime to around 1 second. They also measured high scattering rates and their anisotropy due to dipolar interactions, which are central to the applications of ultracold molecules. The work has been performed in collaboration with the group of Professor Sebastian Will (Columbia University, USA).
The findings represent an important step towards achieving a Bose-Einstein condensate of polar molecules into the lowest quantum energy state, paving the way for exploring highly correlated states of dipolar quantum materials. This can lead to the advancement of unique quantum phenomena and is a crucial in the study in physics, which have applications in areas such as the development of new materials and quantum technologies.