EU - Cold Molecules HPRN-CT-20 - Cold Molecules: Formation, Trapping and Dynamics

Project: Research project

Project Details


Very recently groups in the present network have taken giant strides along several routes toward trapping molecules at submilliKelvin temperatures. In comparison, the coldest molecules obtained by supersonic beam expansion are at temperatures above l Kelvin. Laser cooling and trapping techniques have been intensively developed for atoms, but their generalization is difficult due to the more complex structure of a molecule. However, by photo association of laser-cooled alkali atoms, three groups (first Orsay in 1997) have demonstrated the formation of dimmer molecules at a translational temperature below 100 microKelvin. Using non-optical cooling techniques, two routes (deceleration of polar molecules in a time-dependent electric field -pioneered by the FOM-Rijnh group- and sympathetic cooling by buffer gas) are capable of bringing state-selected molecules down to subKelvin temperatures. The aim of the present network is to organize an efficient and creative collaboration between all the European experimental groups in the field of cold and ultra cold molecules, joined by two groups from Croatia and the US, together with leading theoretical groups. The main tasks, enhanced by shared expertise, are to create more efficiently ultra cold molecules by photo association, and cold molecules by non-optical cooling techniques, to achieve different kinds of traps, and to develop the theoretical tools necessary to study the dynamics of the trapped molecules. Once dense samples of cold molecules in well-selected rovibrational states are available, collective effects will be considered, with the goal of a Bose-Einstein condensate of molecules. Super-high precision measurements will be achieved, in particular the determination of the electric dipole moment of the electron, which is important for non-standard particle physics. In conclusion, it is expected that before the end of this network, it will be possible to prepare a wide variety of molecules in dense clouds,
Effective start/end date1/09/0228/02/07


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