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Physics  2013 

Ultracold hydrogen atoms: a versatile coolant to produce ultracold molecules

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.203004

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We show theoretically that ultracold hydrogen atoms have very favorable properties for sympathetic cooling of molecules to microkelvin temperatures. We calculate the potential energy surfaces for spin-polarized interactions of H atoms with the prototype molecules NH(triplet-Sigma-) and OH(doublet-Pi) and show that they are shallow (50 to 80 cm-1) and only weakly anisotropic. We carry out quantum collision calculations on H+NH and H+OH and show that the ratio of elastic to inelastic cross sections is high enough to allow sympathetic cooling from temperatures well over 1 K for NH and around 250 mK for OH.


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