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Title: Dynamics of Feshbach molecule production
Author: Hanna, Thomas Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3530 3288
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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The variation of a magnetic field in the vicinity of a zero-energy resonance allows highly vibrationally excited molecules (‘Feshbach molecules’) to be produced from an ultracold atomic gas. In this thesis, we study the dynamics of this process. We begin by studying the dissociation of Feshbach molecules, showing that in the limit of a sudden jump the shape of the spectrum of dissociated atoms can act as a probe of the zero-energy resonance. For some resonances, such jumps are within reach of current experiments. We also study the intermediate region between sudden jumps and asymptotically wide, linear ramps. It is shown from a precise derivation how the latter limit leads to a universal spectrum with a shape independent of the implementation of the two-body physics, provided that the near-resonant scattering properties are correctly modelled. We then turn to the dynamics of Feshbach molecule production from thermal and condensed gases. Our microscopic quantum dynamics approach includes the exact twobody evolution as an input to the many-body calculations. We show that in the long-time limit, and the Markov limit for the interactions, the non-Markovian Boltzmann equation (NMBE) we derive for the one-body density matrix reduces to the normal Boltzmann equation. In the limit of short times and small depletion of the atomic gas, the molecule production efficiency can be calculated by thermally averaging the two-body transition probability density. This thermal averaging technique is applied to studies of the formation of Feshbach molecules using a magnetic field modulation that is near-resonant with the molecular bound state energy. The continuum is shown to have a significant effect on both the dynamics and efficiency of this process. We examine the dependence of the molecule production efficiency on the duration, amplitude and frequency of the modulation, as well as the temperature and density of the gas. This method of producing molecules is effective for a wide range of bound state energies, but requires sufficient variation of the two-body energy levels with magnetic field. Lastly, we implement the NMBE for the case of a fast linear ramp across a Feshbach resonance. The solution of this equation is made feasible by including a large part of the required computation in the kernel, which is calculated in advance. The NMBE allows predictions of the molecule production efficiency which go beyond the thermal averaging technique by accounting for the depletion and rethermalisation of the continuum. In the limit of small depletions, the two approaches give the same results. As the depletion increases, the two approaches differ due to many-body effects limiting the maximum possible molecule production efficiency. We have observed this in our simulations by considering higher-density gases. We have therefore shown the suitability and practicability of this beyond mean-field approach for application to further problems in the production of Feshbach molecules from ultracold gases.
Supervisor: Walmsley, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atomic and laser physics ; Feshbach molecules ; Bose-Einstein condensate ; cold gases