Collisions of room temperature helium with ultra-cold lithium and the van-der-Waals bound state of HeLi
Constantinos Makrides, Daniel S. Barker, James A. Fedchak, Julia K. Scherschligt, Stephen P. Eckel, Eite Tiesinga
We have computed the thermally-averaged total, elastic rate coefficient for the collision of a room-temperature helium atom with an ultra-cold lithium atom. This rate coefficient has been computed as part of the characterization of a cold atom vacuum sensor based on laser-cooled Li atoms that will operate in the Ultra-High-Vacuum (UHV, p < 10^-6 Pa) and Extreme- High-Vacuum (XHV, p < 10^-10 Pa) regimes. The analysis involves computing the X HeLi Born-Oppenheimer potential followed by the numerical solution of the relevant radial Schrodinger equation. The potential is computed using a multi-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 microK Li gas is 1.467(13)×10^-9 cm^3 /s for ^4He+^6Li and 1.471(13) × 10^-9 cm^3 /s for ^4He+^7Li, where the numbers in parenthesis are the one-standard-deviation uncertainties in the last two significant digits. We quantify the temperature dependence as well. Finally, we evaluate the 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 ^4He^6Li and ^4He^7Li, respectively.