Technology in the future will rely on the quantum nature of matter. Quantum technologies would be impossible to develop without first understanding what quantum effects have to offer. It is thus crucial to study real quantum systems, for which ultracold atomic/molecular gases are ideal. This project is for the development and application of a novel approach to study molecular collisions at low temperatures. Its expected results will set a new standard in quantum scattering calculations and make feasible problems that are currently intractable.
Standard approaches aim for an exhaustive description of the collision process and are nearly impossible to apply to questions of current experimental interest. We will implement a highly optimized code based on a key idea: in the ultracold regime, one is only interested in the properties of a few initial states, often just one. The code will improve on an algorithm proposed by LD Thomas to calculate all scattering information for a single initial state, which has not been used to study ultracold collisions. We will tackle systems for which experiments are currently under way, fostering comparison between theory and observations and interdisciplinary collaboration. Our approach is expected to answer many challenging questions on the success of cooling techniques to go below microKelvin temperatures, assist researchers in the design of novel experiments and lead to high-impact publications.
The project is designed as a collaborative effort involving researchers from 5 institutions in as many EU states. The main work will be carried out in O Dulieu's group at Laboratoire Aimé Cotton, one of the world's leaders in the field. It will provide me with critical training in quantum scattering theory and ab initio techniques, and in transferable skills including project management, communication, presentation and creativity. It will significantly boost my career as an independent researcher and my chances to get an academic position.
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