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Department of Chemistry

Publication details for Prof. Jeremy M. Hutson

González-Martínez, M. L. & Hutson, Jeremy M. (2013). Sympathetic cooling of fluorine atoms with ultracold atomic hydrogen. Physical Review A 88(5): 053420.

Author(s) from Durham


We consider the prospect of using ultracold hydrogen atoms for sympathetic cooling of fluorine atoms to
microkelvin temperatures. We carry out quantum-mechanical calculations on collisions between cold F and H
atoms in magnetically trappable states and show that the ratio of elastic to inelastic cross sections remains high
across a wide range of temperatures and magnetic fields. For F atoms initially in the spin-stretched state (2P3/2,
f = mf = +2), sympathetic cooling appears likely to succeed from starting temperatures around 1 K or even
higher. This occurs because inelastic collisions are suppressed by p-wave and d-wave barriers that are 600 mK
and 3.2 K high, respectively. In combination with recent results on H + NH and H + OH collisions [M. L.
Gonz´alez-Mart´ınez and J. M. Hutson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 203004 (2013)], this establishes ultracold H atoms
as a very promising and versatile coolant for atoms and molecules that cannot be laser-cooled.