Manipulating Phase to Enhance Ultrafast Photoassociative Ionization

G. Veshapidze, M.L. Trachy, H. Jang, C.W. Fehrenbach, B.D. DePaola
James R. Macdonald Laboratory, Department of Physics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

With their broad bandwidths and high degree of coherence, ultrafast lasers hold the promise of efficiently guiding chemical reactions along desired pathways. In this work, we experimentally examine the effects of spectral phase on a prototypical system and process, namely ultra cold atomic rubidium undergoing photoassociation followed by coherent excitation and ionization (PAI). We concentrate on simple, readily modeled spectral phase functions such as

Spectral Phase Function Equations

That is, we concentrate on sinusoidal phase, π-phase steps, and π/2-phase pulses. When combined with high resolution time-of-flight spectroscopy as a diagnostic, we find that such phase control can yield a tremendous amount of information about the PAI process. The experimental measurements will be compared with the results of simple calculations.

This work was supported by the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, and by the National Science Foundation.

Presented at DAMOP, May 2008, in State College, PA.


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