Physics

Mixed-Up Molecules

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Science  30 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5914, pp. 562
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5914.562c

Cooling atoms, both bosons and fermions, to ultra-low temperatures has provided the opportunity to probe distinct quantum phases of matter. The ability to then trap these atoms, or even molecules, in optical lattices and tune the interactions between them presents the possibility of an ideal and clean quantum system that can act as a surrogate for complex condensed-matter systems in which the tuning parameters may be limited. To date, most boson-boson and boson-fermion mixtures in this context have been formed with atoms of the same element. Forming more complex molecules with multiple elements offers the prospect of adding an anisotropic electric dipole interaction into the mix, thereby opening up a number of applications in quantum information processing and metrology. Voigt et al. demonstrate the formation and trapping of ultracold diatomic heteronuclear molecules using 6Li and 40K fermionic atoms. Forming long-lived bosonic molecules from two fermionic species with such different masses offers a rich parameter space in which to study many-body correlated systems with asymmetric interactions. — ISO

Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 20405 (2009).

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