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Controlling a diatomic shape resonance with non-resonant light

By Ruzin Aganoglu, Mikhail Lemeshko, Bretislav Friedrich, Rosario González-Férez and Christiane P. Koch


A (diatomic) shape resonance is a metastable state of a pair of colliding atoms quasi-bound by the centrifugal barrier imposed by the angular momentum involved in the collision. The temporary trapping of the atoms' scattering wavefunction corresponds to an enhanced atom pair density at low interatomic separations. This leads to larger overlap of the wavefunctions involved in a molecule formation process such as photoassociation, rendering the process more efficient. However, for an ensemble of atoms, the atom pair density will only be enhanced if the energy of the resonance comes close to the temperature of the atomic ensemble. Herein we explore the possibility of controlling the energy of a shape resonance by shifting it toward the temperature of atoms confined in a trap. The shifts are imparted by the interaction of non-resonant light with the anisotropic polarizability of the atom pair, which affects both the centrifugal barrier and the pair's rotational and vibrational levels. We find that at laser intensities of up to $5\times 10^{9}$ W/cm$^2$ the pair density is increased by one order of magnitude for $^{87}$Rb atoms at $100 \mu$K and by two orders of magnitude for $^{88}$Sr atoms at $20 \mu$K

Topics: Physics - Atomic Physics, Condensed Matter - Quantum Gases, Physics - Chemical Physics, Physics - Optics
Year: 2011
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