Spin-Orbit Interactions and Quantum Spin Dynamics in Cold Ion-Atom Collisions

Timur V. Tscherbul, Paul Brumer, Alexei A. Buchachenko

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18 Citations (Scopus)


We present accurate ab initio and quantum scattering calculations on a prototypical hybrid ion-atom system Yb+-Rb, recently suggested as a promising candidate for the experimental study of open quantum systems, quantum information processing, and quantum simulation. We identify the second-order spin-orbit (SO) interaction as the dominant source of hyperfine relaxation in cold Yb+-Rb collisions. Our results are in good agreement with recent experimental observations [L. Ratschbacher et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 160402 (2013)] of hyperfine relaxation rates of trapped Yb+ immersed in an ultracold Rb gas. The calculated rates are 4 times smaller than is predicted by the Langevin capture theory and display a weak T-0.3 temperature dependence, indicating significant deviations from statistical behavior. Our analysis underscores the deleterious nature of the SO interaction and implies that light ion-atom combinations such as Yb+-Li should be used to minimize hyperfine relaxation and decoherence of trapped ions in ultracold atomic gases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143201
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2016


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