Quantum degenerate gases of ultracold dipolar molecules present a promising platform for advances in quantum simulation, quantum chemistry, and searches for physics beyond the Standard Model. Direct laser cooling of dipolar molecules is one successful method for achieving ultracold temperatures. Currently, we use sub-Doppler $\Lambda$-enhanced gray molasses cooling to load SrF molecules into an optical dipole trap. We have trapped $\sim 160$ SrF molecules at temperatures as low as 15 $\mu$K in a 420 $\mu$K deep trap using this approach. However, any significant increase in the phase space density of our molecular gas will likely be limited by inelastic losses caused e.g. by the barrierless chemical reaction SrF + SrF $\rightarrow$ SrF$_2$ + Sr. Here we report our plans to surmount this challenge by using circularly polarized microwaves to create a repulsive interaction between the SrF molecules. We generate these microwaves by combining two orthogonal polarizations with controllable phase and amplitude offsets onto an orthomode transducer, and then deliver them to the molecules via a conical horn and ellipsoidal mirror. Successful implementation of this scheme should clear a path to achieving a quantum degenerate gas of SrF molecules.
|Presenter name||Geoffrey Zheng|
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