Research & Teaching Faculty

Fine and hyperfine interactions in cold YbF-He collisions in electromagnetic fields

TitleFine and hyperfine interactions in cold YbF-He collisions in electromagnetic fields
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsTscherbul, TV, Klos, J, Rajchel, L, Krems, RV
Date PublishedMAR

We present a rigorous study of cold and ultracold collisions of YbF((2)Sigma) molecules with He atoms in external electric and magnetic fields based on an accurate calculation of the interaction potential surface and quantum theory of atom-molecule scattering. We analyze the mechanisms of collisional depolarization of the electron and nuclear spins of YbF and demonstrate that the rate constants for elastic and inelastic collisions of YbF with He are sensitive to the magnitudes of the applied fields. Collisions of heavy polar molecules like YbF may thus be easily manipulated with external electromagnetic fields. We show that collisional spin relaxation of YbF molecules in rotationally excited states is suppressed by electric fields much more significantly than the spin relaxation in the ground rotational state. We explain this by the influence of electric-field-induced Feshbach resonances, which occur at much lower collision energies when the molecule is rotationally excited. Our results suggest that heavy polar molecules may be amenable to magnetic trapping in a buffer gas of He, which could greatly enhance the sensitivity of spectroscopic experiments to measure the electric dipole moment of the electron.