Production, deceleration and trapping of SrF molecules

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Abstract

Permanent electric dipole moments (EDMs) are signatures of time-reversal and parity violation and act as sensitive probes for physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM). The work in this thesis has been done as part of the NL-eEDM collaboration, which plans to measure the electron EDM using a beam of BaF molecules. The sensitivity of such a table-top precision experiment benefits from utilizing an intense, slow beam of molecules. We plan to achieve that through a combination of Stark deceleration and transverse laser cooling of a cryogenic beam of BaF.

The work presented in this thesis has primarily been done to produce intense, slow molecular beams for an electron EDM measurement. We constructed a supersonic beam source of SrF and BaF molecules. The source produces high intensity beams with low translational and rotational temperatures. Time-resolved detection of laser-induced fluorescence from pulsed excitation of electronic states in BaF molecules was performed to determine the lifetimes of the A^{2}Pi_{1/2} and A^{2}Pi_{3/2} states. The lifetimes of these states were determined to be 57.1(3) ns and 47.9(7) ns, respectively. The transition between the A^{2}Pi_{1/2} and X^{2}Sigma^{+} states is the main laser cooling transition in BaF.

We decelerated a beam of SrF molecules from a cryogenic source to a standstill inside a traveling-wave Stark decelerator, with the number of decelerated molecules on the order of 1000. BaF molecules will be decelerated with the same technique to perform an electron EDM measurement.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Hoekstra, Steven, Supervisor
  • Jungmann, Klaus, Co-supervisor
Award date27-Aug-2021
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publisher
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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