Quantum gas of deeply bound ground state molecules


Molecular cooling techniques face the hurdle of dissipating translational as well as internal energy in the presence of a rich electronic, vibrational, and rotational energy spectrum. In our experiment, we create a translationally ultracold, dense quantum gas of molecules bound by more than 1000 wave numbers in the electronic ground state. Specifically, we stimulate with 80% efficiency, a two- photon transfer of molecules associated on a Feshbach resonance from a Bose- Einstein condensate of cesium atoms. In the process, the initial loose, long- range electrostatic bond of the Feshbach molecule is coherently transformed into a tight chemical bond. We demonstrate coherence of the transfer in a Ramsey- type experiment and show that the molecular sample is not heated during the transfer. Our results show that the preparation of a quantum gas of molecules in specific rovibrational states is possible and that the creation of a Bose- Einstein condensate of molecules in their rovibronic ground state is within reach.