Spin-orbit suppression of cold inelastic collisions of aluminum and helium

Colin Bryant Connolly, Yat Shan Au, Eunmi Chae, Timur V. Tscherbul, Alexei A. Buchachenko, Hsin I. Lu, Wolfgang Ketterle, John M. Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We present a quantitative study of suppression of cold inelastic collisions by the spin-orbit interaction. We prepare cold ensembles of >1011 Al(P1/22) atoms via cryogenic buffer-gas cooling and use a single-beam optical pumping method to measure their magnetic (mJ-changing) and fine-structure (J-changing) collisions with He3 atoms at millikelvin temperatures over a range of magnetic fields from 0.5 to 6 T. The experimentally determined rates are in good agreement with the functional form predicted by quantum scattering calculations using ab initio potentials. This comparison provides direct experimental evidence for a proposed model of suppressed inelasticity in collisions of atoms in P1/22 states [T. V. Tscherbul et al., Phys. Rev. A 80, 040701(R) (2009)PLRAAN1050-2947], which may allow for sympathetic cooling of other P1/22 atoms (e.g., In, Tl and metastable halogens).

Original languageEnglish
Article number173202
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Spin-orbit suppression of cold inelastic collisions of aluminum and helium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this