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Quantum gas microscopy of Rydberg macrodimers

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Science  17 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6441, pp. 664-667
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw4150

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Bonding's outer limit

In a Rydberg state, an atom has been very nearly, but not quite, ionized. This puts the electron relatively far from the nucleus, and two atoms in such a state can thus form a rather long-range bond. Hollerith et al. observed this phenomenon in fine detail by exciting pairs of ultracold rubidium atoms along the diagonal of an optical lattice. The authors resolved the vibrational state structure spectroscopically and showed that the Rydberg dimers manifested bond lengths exceeding 700 nanometers.

Science, this issue p. 664