Northwestern University scientists have discovered a solution to control a molecule from tumbling, which is essential for the construction of Super Fast quantum computers. The scientists cooled a trapped molecule to the outside temperature through a broadband laser; having such control over the rotational and vibrational states of molecules will help use the true potential of molecules in creating powerful computers.
“There is a lot you can do if you get one species of molecule under control, such as we’ve done in this study,” said Brian Odom, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, who led the research.
It was earlier assumed that many lasers could cool molecular rotations. The Northwestern researchers modified the custom design of broadband laser light and filtered out that spectrum part which causes molecules to become hotter as a result of spinning faster, retaining the useful frequency components that helped their job.
“We modify the spectrum of a broadband laser, such that nearly all the rotational energy is removed from the illuminated molecules. We are the first to stop molecular tumbling in such a powerful yet simple way,” Odom added.
Using their customized laser, the group of scientists including Odom, cooled singly charged aluminum monohydride molecules from room temperature to 4 minus 452 degrees Fahrenheit in a fraction of a second. This sudden drop in temperature curbed the molecules’ persistent tumbling motions in its tracks.
Odom and his team worked with a singly charged aluminum monohydride molecules, because the molecule doesn’t vibrate while interacting with a laser.
“By choosing the right molecule we were able to stop the molecules from rotating without worrying about the vibrations,” Odom said. The group of scientists used room temperature apparatus, and not liquid helium cryostats which many researched have used in the research.