Molecules line up in laser grid

Published in Physics World, 18 Sep 2013

Physicists in the US have stored ultracold molecules in an optical lattice for the first time. The molecules – which interact with one another at a distance and not just at short range – could be used to study phenomena such as quantum magnetism, the researchers say.

When a system is cooled to a temperature very close to absolute zero, the underlying behaviour of its component parts is less erratic and it becomes possible to study their pure, quantum-mechanical interactions. For some three decades, physicists have studied ultracold atoms for this reason. However, many materials in nature are based on molecules, not atoms, and so physicists have been keen to study ultracold molecules too. […]

The rest of this article is available here.