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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dynamics of cold molecules in electromagnetic fields Alyabyshev, Sergey


The research field of cold and ultracold atoms and molecules is rapidly growing and expanding into different areas of research such as quantum information science and condensed matter physics. The success of this field is due to the possibility of precisely controlling and manipulating atoms and molecules at low temperatures. The progress in this field relies on the development of new methods for controlling collisional dynamics and interactions of particles with electromagnetic fields. This Thesis describes research on modification of the collisional dynamics of ultracold atoms and molecules by external laser and microwave fields as well as new methods for the detection of weak electromagnetic fields. First, we study the scattering of atoms and molecules confined in a 2D geometry by optical lattices. In particular we develop a theory for scattering in 2D and derive the equations for the threshold dependence of the collision cross sections. We show that inelastic processes and chemical reactions can be suppressed under strong confinement in one dimension and can be controlled by varying the orientation of the external field with respect to the plane of confinement. Next, we present a rigorous theory of low-temperature molecular collisions in the presence of a microwave field. The microwave field can theoretically be used to trap and control polar molecules. The molecular collisions may lead to trap loss and decoherence. We develop a rigorous quantum theory for molecular scattering in the presence of microwave fields. We study inelastic, spin-changing molecular collisions and Feshbach resonances in the presence of microwave fields. We demonstrate that inelastic collisions accompanied by absorption of microwave photons can be significant. The detection of weak electromagnetic fields is very important for various applications ranging from fundamental measurements to biomagnetic imaging, and for tests of microwave chips. We present a method for the detection of weak electromagnetic fields in a wide range of frequencies from sub-kHz to THz with ultracold polar molecules. We show that using ultracold molecules one can achieve the sensitivity of two orders of magnitude larger than with a similar method based on ultracold Rb atoms.

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