Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Deborah Jin

Second Advisor

Eric Cornell

Third Advisor

John Bohn

Fourth Advisor

Heather Lewandowski

Fifth Advisor

W. Carl Lineberger

Abstract

This thesis presents experiments exploring Feshbach molecules and Efimov trimers in an ultracold Bose-Fermi atomic gas mixture of 40K and 87Rb. These bound states are accessed via scattering resonances, called Fano-Feshbach resonances, which arise as a consequence of a bound state being tuned through degeneracy with the threshold energy of colliding atoms. In addition to allowing the tunability of interactions, the Fano-Feshbach resonance allows for a weakly bound molecule state, called the Feshbach molecule state, to be populated. The efficiency of conversion to the Feshbach molecule state depends upon the rate with which the bound state energy is swept through degeneracy with atomic threshold energy. In regions of large scattering lengths, three-body bound states, called Efimov states, also influence inelastic Bose-Bose-Fermi collisions and boson+molecule collisions in our system. The work presented in this thesis utilizes a magnetically tunable Fano-Feshbach resonance to study Feshbach molecule creation in the perturbative limit (the limit of fast magnetic-field sweeps) and the saturated limit (the limit of slow sweeps), where a phenomenological model is applied to understand the conversion efficiency as well as the quantum degeneracy of the molecules. In addition, I present a study of boson+molecule collision rates and Bose-Bose-Fermi collision rates in order to observe signatures of Efimov states and compare against results in the gas mixture 41K-87Rb to address the question of universality of the three-body parameter in heteronuclear gas mixtures.

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