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Sticky collisions of ultracold RbCs molecules.

Gregory, Philip D. and Frye, Matthew D. and Blackmore, Jacob A. and Bridge, Elizabeth M. and Sawant, Rahul and Hutson, Jeremy M. and Cornish, Simon L. (2019) 'Sticky collisions of ultracold RbCs molecules.', Nature communications., 10 (1). p. 3104.


Understanding and controlling collisions is crucial to the burgeoning field of ultracold molecules. All experiments so far have observed fast loss of molecules from the trap. However, the dominant mechanism for collisional loss is not well understood when there are no allowed 2-body loss processes. Here we experimentally investigate collisional losses of nonreactive ultracold 87Rb133Cs molecules, and compare our findings with the sticky collision hypothesis that pairs of molecules form long-lived collision complexes. We demonstrate that loss of molecules occupying their rotational and hyperfine ground state is best described by second-order rate equations, consistent with the expectation for complex-mediated collisions, but that the rate is lower than the limit of universal loss. The loss is insensitive to magnetic field but increases for excited rotational states. We demonstrate that dipolar effects lead to significantly faster loss for an incoherent mixture of rotational states.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:13 June 2019
Date deposited:19 July 2019
Date of first online publication:15 July 2019
Date first made open access:19 July 2019

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