Photoassociative spectroscopy of ultracold metastable argon
We present results of photoassociative spectroscopy performed on ultracold metastable argon atoms in a magneto-optical trap. Ion spectra are obtained with laser detuning up to a few gigahertz below the 4s[3/2]2→4p[5/2] 3 trapping transition at 811 nm and with intensities in a range of ∼(102-105)ISat. We also compute dipole-dipole potentials for both singly and doubly excited diatomic molecules and use a Leroy-Bernstein analysis to determine the approximate vibrational spacings in the (s+p) and (p+p) manifolds. Based on this theoretical framework, we explain a broad background feature in our data and suggest that double-excitation mechanisms are likely responsible for sharp dips in the ion signal. © 2011 American Physical Society.