Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Heather J. Lewandowski

Second Advisor

Thomas Schibli

Third Advisor

Jun Ye

Abstract

This thesis describes the effect of an electric field on the interaction between rubidium and ammonia at 100 mK. The ability to study low energy interactions between molecules and atoms provides new tools to understand how the processes that govern these interactions work. For example, the use of external electric and magnetic fields provides tools to spatially orient molecules to show how this affects the dynamics of the interaction. The use of electric fields have been proposed to affect dipole-dipole interactions, however we have showed that the space-orienting effect of the field can have a significant effect even in the absence of dipole-dipole interaction. To measure this effect, we trap ammonia molecules in a single quantum state using an electrostatic trap. Rubidium atoms are trapped in a magnetic trap which is overlayed with the ammonia trap. The two samples then interact with minimal center of mass collision energy and we measure the elastic and inelastic cross sections by careful analysis of the ammonia trap-loss profile.

Share

COinS