PerspectiveUltracold Chemistry

Quantum resonances near absolute zero

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Science  08 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6491, pp. 582-583
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb8020

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Summary

Modeling atomic and molecular collisions precisely requires knowing the details of the key elementary processes that dictate their outcomes. Understanding the quantum nature of atomic and molecular collisions is essential, especially in the low–collisional energy region, where quantum effects are most prominent. Among these features are collision resonances, which are in essence transiently trapped quantum states (13). Their transient nature makes them inherently difficult to probe experimentally. On page 626 of this issue, de Jongh et al. (4) report a combined experimental and theoretical dynamics study on the resonances in the NO + He collision, a benchmark system for the inelastic collision energy transfer process, at very low collision energies (4). Collision resonances are attributed to quasi-bound quantum states with a, more accurate potential energy surface (PES) for NO-He.

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