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Collisional satellite lines with |ΔJ| ≤ 58 have been identified in recent polarization spectroscopy V-type optical–optical double resonance (OODR) excitation spectra of the Rb2 molecule [H. Salami et al., Phys. Rev.A80, 022515 (2009)]. Observation of these satellite lines clearly requires a transfer of population from the rotational level directly excited by the pump laser to a neighboring level in a collision of the molecule with an atomic perturber. However to be observed in polarization spectroscopy, the collision must also partially preserve the angular momentum orientation, which is at least somewhat surprising given the extremely large values of ΔJ that were observed. In the present work, we used the two-step OODR fluorescence and polarization spectroscopy techniques to obtain quantitative information on the transfer of population and orientation in rotationally inelastic collisions of the NaK molecules prepared in the 2(A)1Σ+(v' =16, J' = 30) rovibrational level with argon and potassium perturbers. A rate equation model was used to study the intensities of these satellite lines as a function of argon pressure and heat pipe oven temperature, in order to separate the collisional effects of argon and potassium atoms. Using a fit of this rate equation model to the data, we found that collisions of NaK molecules with potassium atoms are more likely to transfer population and destroy orientation than collisions with argon atoms. Collisions with argon atoms show a strong propensity for population transfer with ΔJ = even. Conversely, collisions with potassium atoms do not show this ΔJ = even propensity, but do show a propensity for ΔJ = positive compared to ΔJ = negative, for this particular initial state. The density matrix equations of motion have also been solved numerically in order to test the approximations used in the rate equation model and to calculate fluorescence and polarization spectroscopy line shapes. In addition, we have measured rate coefficients for broadening of NaK 31Π ← 2(A)1Σ+spectral lines due to collisions with argon and potassium atoms. Additional broadening, due to velocity changes occurring in rotationally inelastic collisions, has also been observed.

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