University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

UConn Physics Colloquium

Friday, September 1, 2017
3:30pm – 4:30pm

Storrs Campus
Physics Building, Room PB-38

Prof. Daniel McCarron, Department of Physics, University of Connecticut

Taming molecules with light

Laser cooling and trapping have revolutionized atomic physics, enabling a huge range of advances in science and technology, from Bose-Einstein condensates and matter-wave interferometry to improved atomic clocks. In recent years, it has become clear that general methods to produce ultracold molecules would have a similarly broad scientific impact. Compared to atoms, the rich internal structures of molecules make them highly versatile tools to advance our understanding of complex quantum systems with strong interactions, to produce new quantum technologies, to control quantum effects in chemical reactions, and to realize improved precision measurements.

However, despite intense interest, methods for cooling and trapping molecules have developed far more slowly than their atomic counterparts. In particular, direct laser cooling of molecules was long considered infeasible; the same rich internal structure that makes molecules useful for a variety of applications also poses challenges once believed to be fatal to any attempt at laser cooling. Over the past several years, however, several groups have devised and implemented methods to overcome these difficulties. Now the standard tools of atomic laser cooling—including Doppler and sub-Doppler cooling, beam slowing, and (most recently) magneto-optical trapping—can work with molecules, in a manner very similar to the familiar cases for atoms. In this talk, I will review progress in laser cooling and trapping of molecules, and give an outlook for future directions enabled by these rapidly developing methods.

Coffee will be served prior to the talk, at 3:00 p.m., In Room P-121

Please notice the changed time.


Prof. Phillip Gould

Physics Department (primary), UConn Master Calendar

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