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UBC Theses and Dissertations

New mechanisms for external field control of microscopic interactions in ultracold gases Li, Zhiying


This Thesis describes new mechanisms for controlling elastic and inelastic collisions of ultracold atoms and molecules with static electromagnetic and laser fields. The dynamical properties of ultracold atoms are usually tuned in experiments by applying an external magnetic field to induce a Feshbach resonance. The work presented in this Thesis demonstrates the possibility of inducing and manipulating Feshbach resonances with electric fields. We discuss in detail the mechanisms of electric-field-induced resonances in ultracold mixtures of alkali metal atoms and demonstrate that electric fields may shift and split the magnetic resonances. We show that electric fields may spin up the collision complex of ultracold atoms and induce anisotropic scattering which may be exploited in experiments on many-body dynamics of ultracold gaseous mixtures. The mechanisms of electric-field-induced resonances described in this Thesis allow for two-dimensional control of inter-particle interactions, leading to total control over ultracold gases. To guide future experiments, we generate accurate interaction potentials for ultracold Li--Rb mixtures by fitting positions and widths of experimentally measured Feshbach resonances. Ultracold atomic and molecular gases can be confined by laser fields in one or two dimensions which produces an optical lattice of ultracold particles. We develop a multichannel scattering theory for collisions of atoms and molecules in two dimensions and explore the effects of the confining laser potential on inelastic and reactive collisions of ultracold atoms and molecules in a 1D optical lattice. We show that ultracold collisions can be controlled in a quasi-2D geometry by varying the orientation of a magnetic field with respect to the confinement plane normal and demonstrate that the threshold energy dependence of cross sections for inelastic collisions in an optical lattice can be tuned by varying the confining potential and the magnetic field. Our results show that applying laser confinement in one dimension may stabilize ultracold systems with large scattering lengths, which may open up interesting opportunities for studies of ultracold controlled chemistry and might lead to a new research direction of ultracold chemistry in restricted geometries.

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