We investigate Zeeman relaxation in cold Sb(4S3/2â̂̃)-He collisions in a magnetic field. Ensembles of >1013 laser-ablated Sb atoms are cooled in cryogenic 4He buffer gas to 800 mK and inelastic collisions are observed to equilibrate the mJ-state distribution to the translational temperature. The ratio γ of momentum transfer to inelastic collision rates is measured to be ≤9.1×102. We also perform quantum scattering calculations of Sb-4He collisions, based on ab initio interaction potentials, that demonstrate significant anisotropy of the ground state induced by the spin-orbit interaction. Agreement is obtained between theory and experiment with a ≈10% increase in the ab initio potential depth. This work suggests that buffer-gas-cooled pnictogen atoms lighter than Sb can be loaded into a magnetic trap.
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jul 2013|