MOLECULAR PHYSICS: Production of trilobite Rydberg molecule dimers with kilo-Debye permanent electric dipole moments

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Abstract

Permanent electric dipole moments are important for understanding symmetry breaking in molecular physics, control of chemical reactions, and realization of strongly correlated many-body quantum systems. However, large molecular permanent electric dipole moments are challenging to realize experimentally. We report the observation of ultralong-range Rydberg molecules with bond lengths of ˜100 nanometers and kilo-Debye permanent electric dipole moments that form when an ultracold ground-state cesium (Cs) atom becomes bound within the electronic cloud of an extended Cs electronic orbit. The electronic character of this hybrid class of “trilobite” molecules is dominated by degenerate Rydberg manifolds, making them difficult to produce by conventional photoassociation. We used detailed coupled-channel calculations to reproduce their properties quantitatively. Our findings may lead to progress in ultracold chemistry and strongly correlated many-body physics.

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