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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Atom cooling and trapping at Willamette University

Date: Thursday, Jan 21st
Presenter: Michaela Kleinert, Willamette University, Physics Department


The invention of the magneto-optical trap (MOT) in 1987 - which was awarded the Noble Price in Physics 10 years later - has enabled many new and exciting experiments. Among them are precision measurements of basic atomic and collisional properties, Bose-Einstein Condensates and atom lasers, just to name a few. Recent developments in the field of atomic and molecular physics have included the creation of diatomic molecules, both consisting of the same (homonuclear) and of different (heteronuclear) atomic species. These ultracold molecules promise to revolutionize physical chemistry, few-body physics, precision measurements and quantum information processing, similar to how ultracold atoms revolutionized AMO physics several years ago.

At Willamette University, we have a working Rubidium MOT and are in the process of assembling a Strontium MOT as well. Both traps will be in the same vacuum chamber, allowing us to study collisions between these two clouds of ultracold atoms. I will outline the research we are planning to do.