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Physicists create new molecule with record-setting dipole moment

Date:
April 3, 2015
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
A proposed pathway to construct quantum computers may be the outcome of research by a physics team that has created a new molecule based on the interaction between a highly-excited type of atom known as a Rydberg atom and a ground-state atom. A unique property of the molecule is the large permanent dipole moment, which reacts with an electric field much like a bar magnet reacts with a magnetic field.
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A proposed pathway to construct quantum computers may be the outcome of research by a University of Oklahoma physics team that has created a new molecule based on the interaction between a highly-excited type of atom known as a Rydberg atom and a ground-state atom. A unique property of the molecule is the large permanent dipole moment, which reacts with an electric field much like a bar magnet reacts with a magnetic field.

"This is the largest electric dipole moment ever observed in a molecule," says James Shaffer, professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, OU College of Arts and Sciences. Shaffer and his team want to produce enough of these molecules to carry out future experiments on dipole interactions. Dipole interactions between particles may provide a pathway for constructing scalable quantum computers.

Donald Booth, the lead graduate student on this project, says the molecule is formed when an electron from the Rydberg atom grabs onto the ground-state atom. OU researchers excite the Rydberg atom using lasers in a cloud of ground-state atoms, so the Rydberg electron can collide with a ground-state atom and form the molecule.


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Materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Booth, S. T. Rittenhouse, J. Yang, H. R. Sadeghpour, J. P. Shaffer. Production of trilobite Rydberg molecule dimers with kilo-Debye permanent electric dipole moments. Science, 2015; 348 (6230): 99 DOI: 10.1126/science.1260722

Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "Physicists create new molecule with record-setting dipole moment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150403233709.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2015, April 3). Physicists create new molecule with record-setting dipole moment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150403233709.htm
University of Oklahoma. "Physicists create new molecule with record-setting dipole moment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150403233709.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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