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Obtaining ultracold molecules through Stark deceleration and laser cooling

Meinema, J. R., 2016, [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. 151 p.

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  • Jacoba Roelien Meinema
The Standard Model of particle physics describes the elementary particles and their interactions through the strong, weak and electromagnetic force. Although the Standard Model is very successful, it is not complete since it does not explain for example dark matter or gravity.

The Standard Model can be tested directly in studies of particle collisions at high energy, for example at CERN, or indirectly in table-top precision experiments on atoms and molecules. Molecules have an enhanced sensitivity for such precision tests of the Standard Model due to their rich energy-level structure. By cooling the molecules to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, a measurement with increased observation time can be performed, boosting the sensitivity even further. To this end we have studied the combination of two recently developed experimental techniques, Stark deceleration and laser cooling.

Heavy molecules are most suited for precision measurements but difficult to decelerate. We have chosen SrF, which can be decelerated to standstill in a 4.5 meter long decelerator. Following the deceleration the molecules can be cooled with lasers to reduce the temperature even further. We have studied this in detail, and found that by combining laser cooling with a Stark decelerator, a number of challenges in molecular laser cooling is mitigated as the sample of molecules is already cold after deceleration. We conclude that the combination of the two is therefore very promising for a new generation of precision measurements.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date13-May-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8787-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8786-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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