Advances in laser cooling of neutral atoms have made possible a new form of high-resolution laser spectroscopy: photoassociation of ultracold atoms. Colliding neutral atoms, confined in a laser trap, are photoassociated to bound excited states of the dimer molecule by absorbing a photon from a tunable laser. The technique can probe long range and “purely long range” molecular states that are difficult or impossible to detect by traditional means and, because of the extremely low energy of the colliding atoms (<1 mK), is capable of high resolution (<0.001 cm-1). The spectra are useful for atomic lifetime measurements, determination of atomic ground-state scattering information, and measurement of curve-crossing probabilities. Theoretical and experimental work in the field, including multiple resonance techniques and photo association line shapes, are reviewed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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