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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 3043

  Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Atomic Physics Seminar
Coherent Photoassociation in a Strontium BEC
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Tom Killian, Rice University
Abstract: The divalent electronic structure of alkaline-earth metal atoms such as strontium gives rise to metastable, excited triplet levels and narrow intercombination transitions. These have been exploited for optical clocks, powerful laser cooling techniques that are critical for achieving quantum degeneracy in strontium, and proposals for quantum information architectures and studies of novel magnetism. Metastable excited electronic states also give rise to narrow photoassociation (PA) transitions that differ in many ways from traditional PA with broad, electric-dipole-allowed transitions. In this talk, we will describe narrow-line PA near the ^1S_0-^3P_1 intercombination transition in an ^88Sr Bose-Einstein condensate. This results in coherent PA and Rabi oscillations between atomic and molecular condensates. Transient shifts and broadenings of the excitation spectrum are clearly seen at short times, and they create an asymmetric excitation profile that only displays Rabi oscillations for blue detuning from resonance. Coherent PA is analogous to molecule formation with a magnetic Feshbach resonance.
Host: Saffman
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