Probing ultracold chemistry using ion spectrometry
Rapid progress in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics techniques enabled the creation of ultracold samples of molecular species and opened opportunities to explore chemistry in the ultralow temperature regime. In particular, both the external and internal quantum degrees of freedom of the reactant atoms and molecules are controlled, allowing studies that explored the role of the long-range potential in ultracold reactions. The kinetics of these reactions have typically been determined using the loss of reactants as proxies. To extend such studies into the short-range, we developed an experimental apparatus that combines the production of quantum-state-selected ultracold KRb molecules with ion mass and kinetic energy spectrometry, and directly observed KRb + KRb reaction intermediates and products [M.-G. Hu and Y. Liu, et al., Science, 2019, 366, 1111]. Here, we present the apparatus in detail. For future studies that aim for detecting the quantum states of the reaction products, we demonstrate a photodissociation based scheme to calibrate the ion kinetic energy spectrometer at low energies.