"Coherence in Ultracold Molecular Physics," a four-day workshop bringing together the leading experts in the research fields of ultracold molecules and coherent light-matter interactions in order to discuss recent fundamental discoveries and identify new directions in the research of coherent control of both cold and ultracold molecular matter, will be held May 20-23, 2010 at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.

"Coherent Dynamics of Ultra-Cold Molecular Systems" is a center funded by a Major Thematic Grant from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia awarded to Principal Invstigator Moshe Shapiro, Chemistry and Physics & Astronomy and Canada Research Chair Professor in Quantum Control, and Co-Investigators Kirk Madison, Physics & Astronomy, Roman Krems, Chemistry, John Hepburn, Chemistry and Physics & Astronomy, and Valery Milner, Chemistry and Physics & Astronomy.

A schematic illustration of the proposed method of synthesis of ultracold molecules: Ultracold atoms, confined in an optical lattice, collide and form a bond (insets) due to the action of an external laser beam ("photo-association"). The nascent molecule is forced to make a transition to its ground vibrational state in a stimulated Raman transition by the photo-association light.

The $500,000 grant will fund research over the next three years (2009-2011) bridging the gap between chemistry and physics, between experimentalists and theorists, and combining the “ultra-fast” with the “ultra-cold.”

The Center has three major objectives: (i) To control chemical reactions within and between ultra-cold molecules using both ultra-fast laser pulses and stationary electric and magnetic fields. This integration will lay the foundations of the new research field of “ultra-cold coherent chemistry.” (ii) To create and study a new phase of condensed matter consisting of ordered ensembles of ultra-cold molecules, called molecular “optical lattices.” Among other applications, such lattices would aid in the development of “quantum computers.” (iii) To explore an entirely new chemical regime of molecular gases confined by laser fields to one and two dimensions, and obtain insights into the cooperative effects exhibited by ensembles of ultra-cold molecules in confined geometries with extremely large wave-lengths.

These three directions constitute exciting new directions in the fields of chemical dynamics and Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) physics.

The Center will support a visitors program, will hold a series of seminars and two workshops - the first planned to take place on the UBC campus in May 2010.

This project builds on the momentum generated by a highly successful workshop held at the Peter Wall Institute which helped to identify and refine the themes of this project.