Schedule Mar 11, 2013
Investigating Three-body Recombination in an Ion Trap
Johannes Denschlag (Univ. Ulm)

I would like to report on two recent experiments in our group where we have investigated three-body recombination of cold atoms. In one experiment we study the collision of a single trapped Rb+ ion and two neutral Rb atoms [1]. In the three-body recombination process large energies up to several 0.1eV are released leading to an ejection of the ion from the atom cloud. It is sympathetically recooled back into the cloud via elastic binary collisions with cold atoms. We find that the final ionic product of the three-body processes is again an atomic Rb+ ion, suggesting that the ion merely acts as a catalyzer.

In a second experiment we investigate three-body recombination of three neutral Rb atoms, where a Rb2 molecule is formed [2]. By state-selectively photoionizing the Rbmolecules in a REMPI process we are able to study in detail which vibrational, rotational, and hyperfine quantum states of the Rb2 molecule are populated in a three-body recombination process away from a Feshbach resonance.

[1] A. H&amul;rter, A. Krükow, A. Brunner, W. Schnitzler, S. Schmid, J. Hecker Denschlag, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 123201. (2012).

[2] A. H&amul;rter, A. Krükow, M. Deiss, B. Drews, E. Tiemann, J. Hecker Denschlag 
arXiv:1301.5518 (2013).

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