Vibrational relaxation of trapped molecules due to collisions with cold atoms is investigated using the results of quantum-mechanical scattering calculations. Trap loss is analyzed using an exactly solvable kinetic model that includes direct collisional quenching and an indirect process of vibrational predissociation. At low atom density, the relaxation is due primarily to collisional quenching. At high atom density, the relaxation involves additional time scales due to the formation and decay of van der Waals complexes. It is shown that the most weakly bound state of the van der Waals complex for a given diatomic vibrational level controls the relaxation at all atom densities. Possible experiments using trapped molecules are discussed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|State||Published - Mar 1999|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics