State-of-the-art optical clocks with neutral atoms employ an optical lattice to tightly confine the atoms, enabling high-resolution spectroscopy and the potential for high-accuracy timekeeping. Interrogating many atoms simultaneously facilitates high measurement precision, but also yields high atomic density and the potential for cold collisions. To suppress these atom-atom interactions, the use of ultracold, spin-polarized fermions was proposed to exploit the Fermi suppression of s-wave collisions while freezing out higher-wave contributions. However, small collision shifts have been measured in Sr and Yb. For Sr, the shifts were attributed to s-wave interactions enabled by excitation inhomogeneity. Here, we report definitive experimental evidence and a quantitative theoretical treatment of p-wave collisions in Yb. We also demonstrate a novel suppression of the collisional frequency shift utilizing strong interactions in a two-dimensional optical lattice. Understanding these interactions and dynamics for two-valence-electron atoms is fundamental for the development of quantum information and computation protocols and simulation of condensed matter many-body Hamiltonians.
Citation: Nature Physics
Pub Type: Journals