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Enhanced optical and electric manipulation of a quantum gas of KRb molecules

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 10:00am

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA X317

Speaker Name(s): 

Jacob Covey

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

JILA, Ye group
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • JILA Thesis Defense

Event Details & Abstract: 

Polar molecules are an ideal platform for studying quantum information and quantum simulation due to their long-range dipolar interactions. Ultracold polar KRb molecules were first produced in 2008 at JILA, and no other groups around the world were able to create other species of polar molecules until 2014. Moreover, dipolar collisions and ultracold chemistry make polar molecules especially difficult to control. During my PhD we worked to mitigate these limitations by loading molecules into an optical lattice where the tunneling rates, and thus the chemistry, can be exquisitely controlled. This setting allowed us to start using the rotational degree of freedom as a pseudo-spin, and paved the way for studying models of quantum magnetism, such as the t-J model and the XXZ model. Further, by allowing molecules of two "spin''-states to tunnel in the lattice, we were able to observe a continuous manifestion of the quantum Zeno effect, where increased mobility counterintuitively suppresses dissipation from inelastic collisions. In a deep lattice we observed dipolar spin-exchange interactions, and we were able to elucidate their truly many-body nature. These two sets of experiments informed us that the filling fraction of the molecules in the lattice was only ~5-10%, and so we implemented a quantum synthesis approach where atomic insulators were used to maximize the number of sites with one K and one Rb, and then these "doublons'' were converted to molecules with a filling of 30%. Despite these successes, a number of tools such as high resolution detection and addressing as well as large, stable electric fields were unavailable. Also during my PhD I led efforts to design, build, test, and implement a new apparatus which provides access to these tools and more. We have successfully produced ultracold molecules in this new apparatus, and we are now applying AC and DC electric fields with in vacuum electrodes. This apparatus will allow us to study quantum magnetism in a large electric field, and to detect the dynamics of out-of-equilibrium many-body states.