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Creating a gas of ultracold ion pairs out of long-range Rydberg molecules


Long-range Rydberg molecules are exotic bound states of a Rydberg atom and ground-state atom within the Rydberg orbit. They are electronically highly excited, have lifetimes exceeding tens of microseconds and bond lengths on the order of 100 nm, comparable to the size of typical viruses. The exploration of their exotic properties has just begun recently, stimulated by promising applications in precision measurements, development of quantum-chemical methods, and the creation of the exotic phases of matter. In this project we will transform a gas of these exotic molecules into a gas of ion pairs by photoattaching the Rydberg electron to the ground state atom. Besides the fundamental interest in the spectroscopy of such a novel system, this technique, if successful, could allow for the creation of a strongly coupled pair plasma, a novel and experimentally almost unexplored state of matter with great relevance for the evolution of the early universe and general plasma physics.

Principal Investigator

Johannes Deiglmayr, Universitaet Leipzig

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