Index of refraction for cold lithium- and diatomic sodium waves traveling through cold noble gases
Department of Physics, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
2 Faculty of Engineering, Oslo University College, 0130 Oslo, Norway
Revised: 9 December 2010
Published online: 18 February 2011
In the present paper we propose to measure the index of refraction for diatomic sodium molecules traveling through a cold helium gas. Theoretical calculations of the index of refraction for this system are presented as a function of the molecule velocity and atom gas temperature. Whereas previous theoretical efforts to compute the refractive index have been concerned with atomic systems and atomic matter waves, we extend the investigation to diatomic molecules in the present work. To enable such calculations the potential energy surface for the atom-molecule interaction is calculated ab initio, along with the long range dispersion coefficients for the atom-molecule system. The full close-coupled equations, describing the atom-molecule collisions, are solved numerically to work out the influence of the collisions on the matter waves. We investigate the sensitivity of the results upon changes and inaccuracies in the potential energy surface. Several molecular rotational levels are included in the present study, and the index of refraction is found to depend on the rotational state. In addition, the index of refraction for atomic lithium matter waves traveling through the cold noble gases helium and argon are computed, motivated by a recent experiment with atomic lithium matter waves. Different resonances (glory- and scattering resonances) are identified from the results. Such resonances offer an important opportunity for the comparison of experiment and theory.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2011