Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > JILA scientists create first dense gas of ultracold 'polar' molecules: Milestone portends advances in quantum information, designer chemistry, precisi

Abstract:
Scientists at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder), have applied their expertise in ultracold atoms and lasers to produce the first high-density gas of ultracold molecules葉wo different atoms bonded together葉hat are both stable and capable of strong interactions.

JILA scientists create first dense gas of ultracold 'polar' molecules: Milestone portends advances in quantum information, designer chemistry, precisi

GAITHERSBURG, MD | Posted on September 18th, 2008

The long-sought milestone in physics has potential applications in quantum computing, precision measurement and designer chemistry.

Described in the Sept. 18 issue of Science Express,* JILA's creation of ultracold "polar" molecules庸eaturing a positive electric charge at one end and a negative charge at the other用aves the way for controlled interactions of molecules separated by relatively long distances, offering a richer selection of features than is possible with individual atoms and potentially leading to new states of matter.

"Ultracold polar molecules really represent now one of the hottest frontiers in physics," says NIST/JILA Fellow Jun Ye, an author of the paper. "They are potentially a new form of matter, a quantum gas with strong interactions that vary by direction and that you can control using external tools such as electric fields."

The authors say atoms are like basketballs, round and somewhat featureless, whereas molecules are more like footballs, with angles, and characteristics that vary by direction.

"This is really a big deal," says NIST/JILA Fellow Deborah Jin, another author of the new paper. "This is something people have been trying to do for a long time, using all kinds of different approaches."

Jin and Ye are adjoint professors of physics at CU-Boulder and both teach undergraduate and graduate students. Other authors of the paper include a NIST theorist at the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland and a theorist at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Two types of atoms are found in nature庸ermions, which are made of an odd number of subatomic components (protons and neutrons), and bosons, made of an even number of subatomic components. The JILA group combined potassium and rubidium, which are different classes of atoms (a slightly negative fermion and a slightly positive boson, respectively). The resulting molecules exhibit a permanent and significant differential in electric charge, which, along with the ultracold temperatures and high density, allows the molecules to exert strong forces on each other.

The molecules are in the lowest possible vibrational energy state and are not rotating, so they are relatively stable and easy to control. They also have what is considered a long lifespan for the quantum world, lasting about 30 milliseconds (thousandths of a second).

JILA's ultracold polar gas has a density of 10 quadrillion molecules per cubic centimeter, a temperature of 350 nanoKelvin above absolute zero (about minus 273 degrees Celsius or minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit), and a measurable separation of electric charge.

The process for making the molecules begins with a gas mixture of very cold potassium and rubidium atoms confined by a laser beam. By sweeping a precisely tuned magnetic field across the atoms, scientists create large, weakly bound molecules containing one atom of each type. This technique was pioneered by Jin in her 2003 demonstration of the world's first Fermi pair condensate.

At this stage the molecules are very large and possess a high amount of internal energy, which allows them to decay and heat up rapidly, both undesirable effects for practical applications. The scientists faced the considerable challenge of efficiently converting atoms that are far apart into tightly bound molecules, without allowing the released binding energy to heat the gas.

In a process that Jin describes as "chemistry without explosions," scientists used two lasers operating at different frequencies容ach resonating with a different energy jump in the molecules葉o convert the binding energy into light instead of heat. The molecules absorb near-infrared laser light and release red light. In the process, more than 80 percent of the molecules are converted, through an intermediate energy state, to the lowest and most stable energy level.

A key to success was the development of detailed theory for the potassium-rubidium molecule's energy states to identify the appropriate intermediate state and select the laser colors for optimal control. In addition, both lasers were locked to an optical frequency comb, a precise measurement tool invented in part at NIST and JILA, synchronizing the two signals perfectly.

The research described in Science Express is part of a larger NIST/JILA effort to develop techniques to understand and control the complex features of molecules and their interactions. Practical benefits could include new chemical reactions and processes for making designer materials and improving energy production, new methods for quantum computing using charged molecules as quantum bits, new tools for precision measurement such as optical molecular clocks or molecular systems that enable searches for new theories of physics beyond the Standard Model, and improved understanding of condensed matter phenomena such as colossal magnetoresistance (for improved data storage and processing) and superconductivity (for perfectly efficient electric power transmission).

JILA researchers are now working to improve the efficiency of producing tightly bound polar molecules and extend molecule lifetimes. They also plan to apply the new molecules to explore new scientific directions.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NIST, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and W.M. Keck Foundation.

*K.K. Ni, S. Ospelkaus, M.H.G. de Miranda, A. Pe'er, B. Neyenhuis, J.J. Zirbel, S. Kotochigova, P.S. Julienne, D.S. Jin, J. Ye. 2008. A High Phase-Space-Density Gas of Polar Molecules. Science Express. Sept. 18.

####

About NIST
Founded in 1901, NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Laura Ost, NIST

(303) 497-4880

Peter Caughey, CU-Boulder

(303) 492-4007

Copyright © NIST

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Innovation in Nanotechnology is Focus of Symposium: Annual event brings international experts to Northwestern Oct. 6 September 29th, 2016

Cambrios at CEATEC - Japan 2016 September 29th, 2016

Picosun patents ALD nanolaminate to prevent electronics from overheating September 28th, 2016

Leti and Taiwanese Tech Organizations Sponsoring Workshop in Taipei on MEMS, IoT, Smart Lighting Applications, System Reliability & Security September 28th, 2016

Chemistry

Chains of nanogold forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Carbon-coated iron catalyst structure could lead to more-active fuel cells September 15th, 2016

Researchers build world's largest database of crystal surfaces and shapes September 14th, 2016

On-surface chemistry leads to novel products: On-surface chemical Reactions can lead to novel chemical compounds not yet synthesized by solution chemistry. September 13th, 2016

Quantum Computing

NREL discovery creates future opportunity in quantum computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material's usage for efficient solar cells September 9th, 2016

NREL Discovery Creates Future Opportunity in Quantum Computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material痴 usage for efficient solar cells September 1st, 2016

Colors from darkness: Researchers develop alternative approach to quantum computing August 31st, 2016

Diamonds and quantum information processing on the nano scale August 31st, 2016

Discoveries

Fighting cancer with sticky nanoparticles September 27th, 2016

Gold nanoparticles conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2 mediated pathway in breast cancer September 27th, 2016

UNAM develops successful nano edible coating which increases life food September 27th, 2016

Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Announcements

Innovation in Nanotechnology is Focus of Symposium: Annual event brings international experts to Northwestern Oct. 6 September 29th, 2016

Cambrios at CEATEC - Japan 2016 September 29th, 2016

Picosun patents ALD nanolaminate to prevent electronics from overheating September 28th, 2016

Leti and Taiwanese Tech Organizations Sponsoring Workshop in Taipei on MEMS, IoT, Smart Lighting Applications, System Reliability & Security September 28th, 2016

Research partnerships

Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

Graphene nanoribbons show promise for healing spinal injuries: Rice University scientists develop Texas-PEG to help knit severed, damaged spinal cords September 19th, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

Chains of nanogold forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Notre Dame researchers find transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials September 6th, 2016

NREL Discovery Creates Future Opportunity in Quantum Computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material痴 usage for efficient solar cells September 1st, 2016

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic