- Interaction-induced decay of a heteronuclear two-atom system
- Nature Communications
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI)
Two-atom systems in small traps are of fundamental interest for understanding the role of interactions in degenerate cold gases and for the creation of quantum gates in quantum information processing with single-atom traps. One of the key quantities is the inelastic relaxation (decay) time when one of the atoms or both are in a higher hyperfine state. Here we measure this quantity in a heteronuclear system of 87Rb and 85Rb in a micro optical trap and demonstrate experimentally and theoretically the presence of both fast and slow relaxation processes, depending on the choice of the initial hyperfine states. This experimental method allows us to single out a particular relaxation process thus provides an extremely clean platform for collisional physics studies. Our results have also implications for engineering of quantum states via controlled collisions and creation of two-qubit quantum gates.
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