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Collisions of room-temperature helium with ultracold lithium and the van der Waals bound state of HeLi

TitleCollisions of room-temperature helium with ultracold lithium and the van der Waals bound state of HeLi
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsC. Makrides, D. S. Barker, J. A. Fedchak, J. Scherschligt, S. Eckel, and E. Tiesinga
JournalPhys. Rev. A
Date PublishedJAN 6
Type of ArticleArticle

We have computed the thermally averaged total, elastic rate coefficient for the collision of a room-temperature helium atom with an ultracold lithium atom. This rate coefficient has been computed as part of the characterization of a cold-atom vacuum sensor based on laser-cooled Li-6 or Li-7 atoms that will operate in the ultrahigh-vacuum (p < 10(-6) Pa) and extreme-high-vacuum (p < 10(-10) Pa) regimes. The analysis involves computing the X (2) Sigma(+) HeLi Born-Oppenheimer potential followed by the numerical solution of the relevant radial Schrodinger equation. The potential is computed using a single-reference-coupled-cluster electronic-structure method with basis sets of different completeness in order to characterize our uncertainty budget. We predict that the rate coefficient for a 300 K helium gas and a 1 mu K Li gas is 1.467(13) x 10(-9) cm(3)/s for He-4 + Li-6 and 1.471(13) x 10(-9) cm(3)/s for He-4 + Li-7, where the numbers in parentheses are the one-standard-deviation uncertainties in the last two significant digits. We quantify the temperature dependence as well. Finally, we evaluate the s-wave scattering length and binding of the single van der Waals bound state of HeLi. We predict that this weakly bound level has a binding energy of -0.0064(43) x hc cm(-1) and -0.0122(67) x hc cm(-1) for He-4 + Li-6 and He-4 + Li-7, respectively. The calculated binding energy of He-4 + Li-7 is consistent with the sole experimental determination.