Chemical Physics Seminar: Fundamental particle physics with a chemistry toolbox
Yuval Shagam, University of Colorado Boulder
Precision measurements in molecules are complementary to high-energy collider studies in the pursuit of physics beyond the Standard Model (SM) of Particle Physics, which includes the three fundamental forces in nature excluding gravity. Our search for a permanent electric dipole moment (EDM) in an electron attempts to explain the origin of the matter/antimatter asymmetry in the universe, which should not exist according to the SM. The strong chemical bonds of molecules provide an ideal medium for such precision measurements. Due to our choice of molecular ions for our measurement, which are easily trappable, we can select a molecular species such as HfF+ which has enhanced sensitivity to the EDM, while simultaneously benefiting from long interrogation times. We have attained >2 seconds spin-coherence time and a 20-fold increase in ion count rate with precise control of molecular internal state in our next generation measurement with HfF+. I will discuss the noise-immune detection scheme we developed to reach the quantum projection noise limit. The scheme is based on the spatial separation of photofragments arising from different molecular orientations.
Our demonstration of precise control and detection of internal states of molecular ions is crucial for a variety of other scientific applications ranging from cold quantum chemistry studies to quantum information with a molecular medium.