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Quantum Gas of Deeply Bound Ground State Molecules

Science  22 Aug 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5892, pp. 1062-1066
DOI: 10.1126/science.1159909

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Abstract

Molecular cooling techniques face the hurdle of dissipating translational as well as internal energy in the presence of a rich electronic, vibrational, and rotational energy spectrum. In our experiment, we create a translationally ultracold, dense quantum gas of molecules bound by more than 1000 wave numbers in the electronic ground state. Specifically, we stimulate with 80% efficiency, a two-photon transfer of molecules associated on a Feshbach resonance from a Bose-Einstein condensate of cesium atoms. In the process, the initial loose, long-range electrostatic bond of the Feshbach molecule is coherently transformed into a tight chemical bond. We demonstrate coherence of the transfer in a Ramsey-type experiment and show that the molecular sample is not heated during the transfer. Our results show that the preparation of a quantum gas of molecules in specific rovibrational states is possible and that the creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate of molecules in their rovibronic ground state is within reach.

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