Two electrons are better than one... In the Yb lab we produce Bose-Einstein condensates and degenerate Fermi gases of ytterbium atoms. These atoms offer metastable electronic states, ultranarrow clock transitions, multicomponent fermions with SU(N) interactions: a whole range of experimental tools that allow new possibilities for quantum simulation and quantum information processing.

A new spin-exchange observed

We report on the first direct observation of fast spin-exchange coherent oscillations between different long-lived electronic orbitals of ultracold 173Yb fermions. We measure, in a model-independent way, the strength of the exchange interaction driving this coherent process. This observation allows us to retrieve important information on the inter-orbital collisional properties of 173Yb atoms and paves the way to novel quantum simulations of paradigmatic models of two-orbital quantum magnetism.

G. Cappellini et al.,
Direct Observation of Coherent Interorbital Spin-Exchange Dynamics
Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 120402 (2014)

See also the Physics Viewpoint by A. M. Rey:

A. M. Rey
Observing the Great Spin and Orbital Swap
Physics 7, 95 (2014)

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