Molecular Beam Laboratory
The Molecular Beam Laboratory of the Laser Centre focuses on the following main directions of research:
laser manipulation of atomic and molecular quantum states;
formation and fragmentation of molecular complexes;
Rydberg atom interactions;
stochastic processes involving photons and electrons.
The long-term goal is to develop novel approaches to accurate control of bimolecular fragmentation (i.e., chemical) processes. An anticipated way of achieving that is by combing the existing and future laser manipulation techniques with the stochastic properties of the molecular complex formation, properties of atoms and molecules in highly excited (Rydberg) states, and peculiarities of gases at ultracold temperatures.
The laboratory is equipped with two supersonic atomic/molecular beam machines (the only two in Latvia) configured for optical detection of photons, mass spectrometry, and (optionally) ion imaging. These machines provide dense beams of alkali diatomic molecules, which are vibratioanlly and rotationally cold. A magneto optical trap for experiments with ultracold alkali atoms is being built and is expected to be operational in 2008. This will be the first ultracold atom source in Latvia and in Baltic countries. Recent research activities of the laboratory's researchers are related to the development of coherent population transfer schemes to highly excited atomic and molecular levels, development of a novel technique for lifetime and branching ratio measurements of high lying molecular states, studies of stochastic phenomena in Rydberg atom interactions and stochastic photon diffusion in absorbing atomic gases.
The laboratory has an international working environment and it is hosting regular visiting scientists. Its present staff consists of the PI, three staff scientists, three postdocs and several students. The visiting scientists include a number of postdoctoral and senior level Marie-Curie Fellows. Researchers of the laboratory are actively involved in various international projects funded by the European Framework Programmes, INTAS, and NATO. Most notably, the FP6 Transfer of Knowledge Project LAMOL - Laser Manipulation of Stochastic Molecular Processes (MTKD-CT-2004-014228, http://home.lanet.lv/~asi/ ekers/lamol/) is being carried out (2005-2009). This project is aimed at transfer and exchange with scientific competence, and it supports recruitment of postdoctoral and senior researchers for research activities.