Research ArticlePHYSICS

Universal relations for ultracold reactive molecules

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Science Advances  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabd4699
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd4699


The realization of ultracold polar molecules in laboratories has pushed physics and chemistry to new realms. In particular, these polar molecules offer scientists unprecedented opportunities to explore chemical reactions in the ultracold regime where quantum effects become profound. However, a key question about how two-body losses depend on quantum correlations in interacting many-body systems remains open so far. Here, we present a number of universal relations that directly connect two-body losses to other physical observables, including the momentum distribution and density correlation functions. These relations, which are valid for arbitrary microscopic parameters, such as the particle number, the temperature, and the interaction strength, unfold the critical role of contacts, a fundamental quantity of dilute quantum systems, in determining the reaction rate of quantum reactive molecules in a many-body environment. Our work opens the door to an unexplored area intertwining quantum chemistry; atomic, molecular, and optical physics; and condensed matter physics.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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