Production of ultracold heteronuclear KRb molecules

Date of Completion

January 2007


Physics, Molecular|Physics, Optics




This thesis describes the spectroscopy work on ultracold 39K 85Rb molecules as part of our effort towards producing ground-state ultracold polar molecules. ^ The starting points of our experiment are laser cooled and trapped K and Rb atoms in dual-species MOTs and the molecule formation method is photoassociation (PA). A fraction of the PA-produced excited-state molecules can spontaneously emit to the two lowest electronic states, the X 1Σ + state and the a 3Σ + state, to form high vibrational level molecules. In order to develop a population transfer scheme to make deeply bound molecules, we have studied the spectroscopy of KRb in several steps. Besides the PA step, we have also carried out a state-selective detection experiment to study the population distribution of the high vibrational level molecules formed via spontaneous emission. The detection method is pulsed-laser based ion time-of-flight mass spectroscopy. Due to the linewidth limitations of the pulsed laser, this detection method can only resolve vibrational structures. A cw laser induced ion depletion spectroscopy technique has been developed in order to obtain rotational resolution. Using this ion depletion method, we have studied a possible stimulated Raman transfer scheme via the 3 1Σ+ state. To this end, we have obtained all the spectroscopic information required to produce deeply bound KRb molecules in a single vibrational and rotational level. ^ Several other spectroscopic studies using the high vibrational level ultracold molecules are also discussed. ^