Student authors: Daniel Barker ('08), Mattie Whitmore ('08), Myrrha Andersen ('07) and Joseph Porembski ('07)

Faculty author: Dr Marin Pichler

Research on ultracold molecules has recently gained considerable attention. Especially interesting are ultracold polar molecules because of their properties and applications in fundamental physics (test of symmetries) and applications in quantum computing and frequency standards.  The main project is to produce ultracold potassium-cesium (KCs) molecules by photoassociation of ultracold potassium (K) and cesium (Cs) atoms.  Within a part of this project Mattie Whitmore, Myrrha Andersen and Joseph Porembski have built diode laser system to cool and trap K atoms.  Two 120 mW laser diodes operating at 784 nm were mounted in external cavities and cooled down to -21 degrees C, to provide lasing at 766.5 nm for the K cooling and repumping transitions.   Electronic circuits were build by Daniel Barker to control and actively stabilize lasing through a saturated absorption setup.

Project is supported by the Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award