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Researchers Produce Molecular Condensate

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2000
A team from the University of Texas in Austin reported in the Feb. 11 issue of Science that it had created a Bose-Einstein condensate of rubidium molecules. Theorists have predicted that the condensates may exhibit phenomena such as molecular solitons and liquidlike properties, and they may lead to the production of a molecular laser analogous to coherent atom lasers.

The physicists used a laser to cool a condensate of 87Rb atoms in a magnetic trap to less than 130 nK. Two-color Raman photoassociation yielded pairs of atoms in a weakly bound vibrational state about 636 MHz below that of the free atoms.

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