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Title: Creation of ultracold polar ground-state RbCs molecules
Author: Molony, Peter Kenneth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 8677
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis reports the creation and trapping of 87RbCs molecules in the absolute ground state with a temperature of 1 uK. We build a tunable narrow-linewidth laser system at 1550 nm and 980 nm, using a single high-finesse optical cavity as a reference for both colours. We use fibre-coupled electro-optic modulators to continuously tune both lasers. These allow a novel measurement of the free spectral range of the cavity to better than 1 part in 10^6. We perform one- and two-photon spectroscopy on 87RbCs Feshbach molecules and identify a suitable intermediate state for transfer to the molecular ground state. We measure the electric dipole moment of the molecular ground state as 1.225(3)(8) D, and demonstrate the highest lab-frame dipole moment of any ultracold molecular system at the time of measurement. We transfer the molecules to the electronic, rovibrational and hyperfine ground state using stimulated Raman adiabatic passage, with 88% efficiency. We measure the transition strengths and excited state linewidth for this transfer route. We develop a model for the transfer which includes the effect of laser linewidth, and find excellent agreement with experimental data. The molecular sample is trapped in an optical dipole potential, and has a lifetime of 0.89(6) s. We reference the STIRAP lasers to a novel design of frequency comb which uses difference frequency generation to cancel the carrier-envelope offset. We use this to measure the binding energy of the molecules as h x 114 268 135.24(4)(3) MHz. To our knowledge, this is the most precise determination of the dissociation energy of a molecule to date. Finally, we report progress toward loading the molecules into a 1D optical lattice at 1064 nm. We develop the tools and methods to characterise a lattice, and demonstrate trapping of Feshbach molecules in both a 1D optical lattice and a harmonic optical potential at 1064 nm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available