Group Seminar at LMU: Observation of vibrational dynamics in an Ion-Rydberg molecule by a high-resolution ion microscope

May 09, 2023

Moritz Berngruber, University of Stuttgart
Group Seminar at LMU seminar room H107 and zoom
Tuesday, May 9th, 09:00am (MEZ)


I will talk about my work on our ion microscope at the University of Stuttgart. Our setup allows to image ions with a high spatial and temporal resolution, which makes it an ideal tool to study ion and Rydberg physics in real space. Highly excited Rydberg atoms can form quite unusual bonds, leading to long-range Rydberg molecules that can have extreme properties. These molecules can consist of one Rydberg atom and a ground state atom, leading for example to the so-called trilobite or butterfly molecules [1]. Alternatively, these molecules can also consist of two Rydberg atoms forming a macrodimer [2]. In our case, however, we study a charged molecule formed by an ion and a Rydberg atom. The binding mechanism between the two particles is based on the interaction between the ionic charge and a induced flipping dipole of a Rydberg atom. One property that reflects the extreme nature of this molecule is the huge bond length of several micrometres, which not only allows us to image the molecule directly, but also to observe its vibrational dynamics in real space. Compared to conventional molecules – where the vibrational dynamics occur on the picosecond time scale or even faster – the dynamics in the large Ion-Rydberg molecule is drastically slowed down, leading to oscillations in the microsecond regime, which can be observed in our setup.

[1] Fey, et al., Molecular Physics 118.2 e1679401 (2020)
[2] Hollerith, et al., Science 364.6441 664-667 (2019)

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