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 23.04.2009   Карта сайта     Language По-русски По-английски
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23.04.2009

Nature 458, 1005-1008 (23 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07945; Received 17 September 2008; Accepted 27 February 2009



Observation of ultralong-range Rydberg molecules


Vera Bendkowsky1, Björn Butscher1, Johannes Nipper1, James P. Shaffer1,2, Robert Löw1 & Tilman Pfau1




  1. 5. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

  2. University of Oklahoma, Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, Norman, Oklahoma 73072, USA


Correspondence to: Vera Bendkowsky1Tilman Pfau1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to V.B. (Email: v.bendkowsky@physik.uni-stuttgart.de) or T.P. (Email: t.pfau@physik.uni-stuttgart.de).





Rydberg atoms have an electron in a state with a very high principal quantum number, and as a result can exhibit unusually long-range interactions. One example is the bonding of two such atoms by multipole forces to form Rydberg–Rydberg molecules with very large internuclear distances1, 2, 3. Notably, bonding interactions can also arise from the low-energy scattering of a Rydberg electron with negative scattering length from a ground-state atom4, 5. In this case, the scattering-induced attractive interaction binds the ground-state atom to the Rydberg atom at a well-localized position within the Rydberg electron wavefunction and thereby yields giant molecules that can have internuclear separations of several thousand Bohr radii6, 7, 8. Here we report the spectroscopic characterization of such exotic molecular states formed by rubidium Rydberg atoms that are in the spherically symmetric s state and have principal quantum numbers, n, between 34 and 40. We find that the spectra of the vibrational ground state and of the first excited state of the Rydberg molecule, the rubidium dimer Rb(5s)–Rb(ns), agree well with simple model predictions. The data allow us to extract the s-wave scattering length for scattering between the Rydberg electron and the ground-state atom, Rb(5s), in the low-energy regime (kinetic energy, <100 meV), and to determine the lifetimes and the polarizabilities of the Rydberg molecules. Given our successful characterization of s-wave bound Rydberg states, we anticipate that p-wave bound states9, trimer states10 and bound states involving a Rydberg electron with large angular momentum—so-called trilobite molecules5—will also be realized and directly probed in the near future.



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  • Chen Wev .  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Harton Vladislav Vadim  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Lichtenstain Alexandr Iosif  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Novikov Dimirtii Leonid  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Yakushev Mikhail Vasilii  honorary member of ISSC science council

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