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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mechanism of collisional spin relaxation in Σ3 molecules

  • Author(s): Campbell, WC
  • Tscherbul, TV
  • Lu, HI
  • Tsikata, E
  • Krems, RV
  • Doyle, JM
  • et al.

We measure and theoretically determine the effect of molecular rotational splitting on Zeeman relaxation rates in collisions of cold Σ3 molecules with helium atoms in a magnetic field. All four stable isotopomers of the imidogen (NH) molecule are magnetically trapped and studied in collisions with He3 and He4. The He4 data support the predicted 1/Be2 dependence of the collision-induced Zeeman relaxation rate coefficient on the molecular rotational constant Be. The measured He3 rate coefficients are much larger than the He4 coefficients, depend less strongly on Be, and theoretical analysis indicates they are strongly affected by a shape resonance. The results demonstrate the influence of molecular structure on collisional energy transfer at low temperatures. © 2009 The American Physical Society.

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