Precision spectroscopy and laser cooling scheme of a radium-containing molecule

Mark Bissell, Cory Binnersley, Kieran Flanagan, Holly Perrett, Jordan Reilly, Adam Vernon, Julius Wessolek, et al

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Molecules containing heavy, radioactive nuclei are predicted to be extremely sensitive to violations of the fundamental symmetries of nature. Radium monofluoride molecules are of particular interest, as the nuclear octupole deformation of certain radium isotopes massively boosts their sensitivity to symmetry-violating nuclear properties. Moreover, they are predicted to be laser coolable, opening up a wide range of opportunities for precision studies. Here, we present measurements of the rovibronic structure of these molecules, which allow an unambiguous determination of their laser cooling scheme. We demonstrate an improvement in resolution of more than two orders of magnitude compared to previous studies. Our developments allowed measurements of minuscule amounts of hot molecules, with only a few hundred per second produced in a particular rotational state. The combined precision and sensitivity achieved in this work offer new opportunities for studies of radioactive molecules of interest in fundamental physics, chemistry and astrophysics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Physics
Early online date9 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


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