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Polar Molecules: From Ultracold Chemistry to Novel Quantum Phases

Objective

The recent realization of ultracold ensembles of polar molecules close to quantum degeneracy has marked a milestone in atomic and molecular physics and physical chemistry. Molecules rotate and vibrate and therefore offer many more quantum degrees of freedom than their atomic counterparts. Polar molecules - with their permanent electric dipole moment interact via strong long-range and anisotropic interaction, which provides unique opportunities for control of chemical reactions and engineering of novel strongly-correlated quantum many-body systems.
In this research proposal, we plan to develop techniques to control molecular processes such as chemical reactions on the quantum level and experimentally establish polar molecules as novel strongly correlated quantum many-body systems. Key topics will be the strong dipolar interaction and quantum confinement when molecules are forced into restricted geometries. The experimental work will focus on quantum-degenerate gases of bi-alkali polar molecules in optical lattices. We plan to develop techniques to precisely tailor and control the interaction potential between polar molecules by means of external ac and dc electric fields. Together with versatile control over restricted geometries, this will supply us with a unique toolbox to control ultracold chemical reactions and to engineer a wide variety of strongly correlated quantum phases - ranging from phases arising in the context of the finite-range Hubbard Hamiltonian to self-assembling crystalline structures and chains. Polar molecular quantum gases have the potential to open new scientific frontiers and address long-standing questions for cold controlled chemistry and fundamendal questions in condensed matter physics.
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Principal Investigator

Silke Ospelkaus (Prof.)

Host institution

GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITAET HANNOVER

Address

Welfengarten 1
30167 Hannover

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 260 000

Principal Investigator

Silke Ospelkaus (Prof.)

Administrative Contact

Nathalie Koberstein (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

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GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITAET HANNOVER

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 1 260 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 257340

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 February 2011

  • End date

    31 January 2017

Funded under:

FP7-IDEAS-ERC

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 260 000

  • EU contribution

    € 1 260 000

Hosted by:

GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITAET HANNOVER

Germany