Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Prof. Heather Lewandowski


In AMO (Atomic, Molecular, and Optical) physics, an important part of making precise measurements is obtaining and keeping high phase-space densities of the atoms or molecules being trapped. When working with atoms, nonadiabatic transitions from trapped states to non-trapped states are a key component of trap loss. The theoretical consensus has been that electrostatically trapped molecules, unlike atoms have very low loss rates due to nonadiabatic transitions. However, [1] performed the first experimental study of loss due to nonadiabatic transitions in electrostatically trapped ammonia and claim that they cause significant trap loss. This thesis presents my work on developing a computer simulation to model ammonia in an electrostatic trap and a simple model of trap loss due to nonadiabatic transitions. This thesis will provide background information on the slowing and trapping of molecules and the nonadiabatic transition that causes trap loss.