Final Report Summary - M-BEC (Bose-Einstein Condensation of Ground State Molecules)
The specific aim of this project is to produce a Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) of rovibronic ground state molecules; i.e. molecules in the lowest vibrational and rotational level of the electronic molecular ground state. This BEC will serve as an ideal starting point for investigation of molecular collisional processes in the zero-temperature limit and for the study of fully coherent chemical processes. This project is intended to bridge the boundaries between atomic, molecular and condensed matter physics with strong linking to the newly emerging field of ultracold chemistry. This goal to produce a rovibronic ground state molecular BEC is a prime example of the broader direction of the research pursued through this endeavor, that of investigating the fundamental physics of the quantum mechanical interactions of matter. Application of this research can be found in precision measurements of fundamental physical constants and preparation of new many-body states which can be used as model systems for studying condensed matter physics. The goal of production of a molecular BEC also requires the joining of many techniques used in cutting-edge atomic physics research, such as atomic quantum gas production, the manipulation of zero-temperature many-body states within the potentials formed by optical lattices, precision spectroscopic and laser control techniques, and the characterization of few-body interactions. The application of these experimental techniques offers the ability to study several physical phenomena. Thus, the multiple results of this project have been the realization of the rovibronic ground state molecular system near quantum degeneracy, the characterization of resonant few body physics within confined geometries and the use of this to realize exotic states of matter and novel types of phase transitions of zero temperature gases, and the characterization of coherent matter-wave physics within the periodic potentials of optical lattices.