Role of electronic excitations in ground-state-forbidden inelastic collisions between ultracold atoms and ions
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AbstractThe role of electronic excitation in inelastic collisions between ultracold Ca atoms and Ba+ ions, confined in a hybrid trap, is studied for the first time. Unlike previous investigations, this system is energetically precluded from undergoing inelastic collisions in its ground state, allowing a relatively simple experimental determination and interpretation of the influence of electronic excitation. It is found that while the electronic state of the ion can critically influence the inelastic collision rate, the polarizability mismatch of the neutral atom electronic states suppresses short-range collisions, and thus inelastic processes, involving electronically excited neutral atoms. As a result of these features, it is experimentally demonstrated that it is possible to mitigate inelastic collision loss mechanisms in these systems, marking an important step toward long-lived hybrid atom-ion devices. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Citation to related workAmerican Physical Society (APS)
Has partPhysical Review Letters
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