- Published on 12 October 2015
In recent years, it has been demonstrated that neutral molecules can be loaded on a microchip directly from a supersonic beam. The molecules are confined in microscopic traps that can be moved smoothly over the surface of the chip. Once the molecules are trapped, they can be decelerated to a standstill, for instance, or pumped into selected quantum states by laser light or microwaves. Molecules are detected on the chip by time-resolved spatial imaging, which allows for the study of the distribution in the phase space of the molecular ensemble.
In this Tutorial Review article, part of the thematic series for Methods for Cold Molecules and Ions, the author introduces the techniques used to trap cold molecules on microchips, and reviews some of the recent developments in this field. First, the essential features of microchip design and the necessary experimental setup are described. Then, the problem of nonadiabatic losses from the microtraps is addressed and the most viable solutions are presented. Further, some recent results on state transition of trapped molecules are presented, involving rotational and vibrational transitions. And finally, on-chip detection and imaging is briefly discussed.
Santambrogio, G. (2015), Trapping molecules on chips, EPJ Techniques and Instrumentation, 2:14, DOI: 10.1140/epjti/s40485-015-0024-8