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A new kind of molecule is made of a super-sized atom plus a cold ion


Artist's impression of a many-body quantum gate with trapped Rydberg atoms. The qubit in the center controls the state of the neighboring qubits by making use of the strong interaction between Rydberg atoms.

Artist’s impression of trapped super-sized atoms

Celina Brandes/University of Stuttgart

A completely new kind of molecule has been made by combining an extremely cold ion and a super-sized atom. The unusual molecular bond between the two particles was thousands of times longer than those in most room-temperature molecules, and the method to make and study it could kick-start a new branch of ultracold quantum chemistry.

Molecules form when atoms or groups of atoms share electrons or stick together because they are caught in each other’s electric fields. Tilman Pfau at the University …



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