Laser Cooling and Inelastic Collisions of the Polyatomic Radical SrOH
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CitationKozyryev, Ivan. 2017. Laser Cooling and Inelastic Collisions of the Polyatomic Radical SrOH. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractPolyatomic molecules, while ubiquitous in nature, were generally perceived as too complicated and "unruly" for the majority of quantum physics experiments. However, recent theoretical analyses have pinpointed the multiple advantages of using complex molecules for diverse applications such as the creation of a universal quantum computer, quantum simulation of non-trivial many-body states, and tests of fundamental physical laws. Throughout my dissertation research I focused on extending experimental techniques from atomic physics to complex molecules. The goal of my work was to not only demonstrate new ways to control molecules, but also develop a novel experimental platform for quantum science - complex polyatomic molecules - and provide tools for physicists to conquer new frontiers in physics and chemistry.
The main theme of this thesis is the use of laser radiation to control internal and external degrees of freedom for the triatomic radical strontium monohydroxide (SrOH). The research achievements presented here can be primarily divided into the following areas:
i) out-of-equilibrium studies of vibrationally inelastic collisions at cryogenic temperatures,
ii) demonstration of the radiation pressure force and the direct laser cooling of polyatomic molecules, and
iii) the development of concepts for laser cooling of molecules with six and more atoms.
For the collisional studies, off-diagonal optical pumping was used to populate excited Sr-O stretching state and the ratio of elastic to vibrational quenching collisions was determined to be ~700. In the laser cooling work, using only laser light, the transverse temperature of the cryogenic buffer-gas beam of SrOH was reduced from 50 mK to below 1 mK, leading to an order of magnitude increase in phase space density of the molecular beam. Additionally, the prospects of using a coherent bichromatic force for optical deceleration of polyatomics were analyzed and experimentally characterized with the transverse deflection of the SrOH beam. Our experimental results with SrOH and theoretical analysis of more complex strontium alkoxides not only open a wide range of future directions for laser manipulation and trapping of polyatomic molecules but also help overturn long held assumptions about the difficulties of performing "traditional" atomic physics experiments with complex molecules.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41140258
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