Ultracold polar molecules promise and exciting new direction for quantum simulation. Their rich internal structure, which stems from their complex internal structure, permits long-range interactions between molecules in addition to strong coupling to electric and microwave fields. Arrays of polar molecules may exhibit strongly-interacting many-body quantum states which are central to a range of phenomena such as the fractional quantum Hall effect, high-temperature superconductivity, and exotic forms of magnetism. Understanding how these phenomena emerge is one of the great challenges of modern physics.
In a new experimental apparatus, we plan to create an array of ultracold polar molecules by association from a pre-cooled atomic mixture following a similar scheme used in our existing RbCs experiment. Once loaded into an optical lattice, a high resolution imaging system will be used to read out the quantum state and site occupation of the molecules with single-site resolution. Such imaging systems have been developed for both bosonic and fermionic atoms, and have proved to be invaluable in the study of many-body physics with ultracold atoms. The development of similar methods for ultracold molecules will be similarly critical, and enable the study of such systems in the presence of long range dipole-dipole interactions.
This project is a part of the QSUM (Quantum Science with Ultracold Molecules) programme grant, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
"QSUM: Quantum Science with Ultracold Molecules" EPSRC EP/P01058X/1 (June 2017 - May 2022)