Observation of microwave shielding of ultracold molecules

TitleObservation of microwave shielding of ultracold molecules
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsAnderegg, L\"ıc, Burchesky, S, Bao, Y, Yu, SS, Karman, T, Chae, E, Ni, K-K, Ketterle, W, Doyle, JM

Ultracold molecules hold promise for a wide range of exciting applications. However, such applications are currently hampered by the limited number of ultracold molecular ensembles that can be created and by their short lifetimes. Anderegg et al. used a microwave dressing field to tune the collisional properties of calcium monofluoride molecules trapped in optical tweezers. This approach allowed a sixfold suppression of inelastic trap-loss collisions. This scheme paves the way for the creation of a variety of long-lived ultracold molecular ensembles.Science, abg9502, this issue p. 779Harnessing the potential wide-ranging quantum science applications of molecules will require control of their interactions. Here, we used microwave radiation to directly engineer and tune the interaction potentials between ultracold calcium monofluoride (CaF) molecules. By merging two optical tweezers, each containing a single molecule, we probed collisions in three dimensions. The correct combination of microwave frequency and power created an effective repulsive shield, which suppressed the inelastic loss rate by a factor of six, in agreement with theoretical calculations. The demonstrated microwave shielding shows a general route to the creation of long-lived, dense samples of ultracold polar molecules and evaporative cooling.

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