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Kang-Kuen Ni, Ph.D.

Kang-Kuen Ni, Ph.D.
Program
Beckman Young Investigators

Award Year
2015

Institution
Harvard University

Email:
ni@chemistry.harvard.edu

Website:
http://chemistry.harvard.edu/people/kang-kuen-ni

Research Title:
Ultra-cold Molecules for Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Assembly

Abstract:
Ultracold molecular gases, at a temperature below of 0.00001 Kelvin, offer a range of exciting applications that are enabled by cooling the motion of molecules and controlling their internal quantum degrees of freedom such as vibrations, rotations, and spins. The large number of internal degrees of freedom complicates molecular cooling procedures and reduces their efficiency. We work toward a novel approach to produce ultracold molecules by assembling them from ultracold atoms one at the time. We have successfully trapped constituent single atoms side-by-side in optical tweezers and prepared atoms in their motional ground state. We are working toward coherent converting them into a single diatomic molecule. With the near-zero kinetic energy of molecules, microscopic interactions between molecules dominate and determine the macroscopic behavior of the gas. These molecules, regarded as quantum “legos”, can be assembled together for quantum chemistry simulations. 

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