KVI-scientist Steven Hoekstra has scored in the ‘projectruimte’ of the FOM Foundation with an application for research on broken mirror symmetry in ultra-cold molecules. For this four-year project a PhD-position (OIO), a budget of k€ 60 and k€ 100 investment money have been supplied.
Steven Hoekstra proposes to apply novel laser cooling techniques to prepare an ultra-cold gas of molecules (with a temperature of the order of 100 microKelvin). In this gas, very sensitive measurements will be done to reveal a possible violation of parity (mirror symmetry). Observation of parity violation in this project would be unique, since this has never been done in a molecule. As an optimal molecule for the experiment, SrF (strontium fluoride) has been chosen. This molecule combines a unique sensitivity to parity violation to the right properties for laser cooling. Steven Hoekstra aims to extend this work in the future to more complex molecules exhibiting chirality (handedness). This could lead to a better understanding of the observed - but unexplained - chirality in biological life on earth.
> Information about Steven Hoekstra and his research
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