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Trapped laser-cooled molecules for particle physics using quantum tools

December 3, 2019 - 4:00pm
Dr. John Doyle
Harvard University

Due to the versatility and controllable complexity of cold polar molecules, they are a powerful platform for precision measurement searches of physics beyond the standard model (BSM). This, and their use for quantum information applications, has led to intense efforts to control molecules at the quantum level. In particular, precision searches for new particle physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM), including new cosmology-related physics, is an area of significant focus for the physics community. The most recent ACME experiment, which probes for the electron electric dipole moment, is sensitive to T-violating physics due to particles with masses up to 30 TeV, which is a mass scale already well beyond the reach of particle colliders. Thus, EDM experiments, which broadly probe new CP-violating physics, are an important complement collider experiments. Several EDM experiments currently use heavy diatomic molecules (e.g. YbF , HaF+ , ThO) to probe this BSM physics, Diatomic molecules are being planned for use in several next-generation and new experiments searching for BSM physics. I will give an update on the ACME EDM experiment, which last year produced a new limit on the electron EDM and is moving forward with another upgrade. I will also discuss possible future experiments using ultracold polyatomic molecules such as YbOH and YbOCH$_3$. It is predicted that when laser-cooled and trapped optically, such species will provide long coherence times, opening the possibility for future experiments to probe BSM physics at the PeV scale. Finally, use of ultracold molecules for dark matter searches will also be discussed. 

Short Biography

 John Doyle, Henry B. Silsbee Professor of Physics, Harvard University, grew up in the U.S. and received his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 1986. After he obtained his Ph.D. degree from, and a short postdoc at, M.I.T., he was appointed as an assistant professor of physics at Harvard University in 1993. John Doyle's research centers on using cold molecules for science ranging from particle physics to bio-analysis to quantum information. Starting with the development a new technique for producing heavy, polar radical molecules in an intense beam, he launched with collaborators searches for physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM) through probing for the electron electric dipole moment. His group also studies fundamental collisional processes in atoms and molecules and develop tools to achieve full quantum control over increasingly complex molecular systems. He is working to realize new techniques to trap and study processes in polyatomic molecules. The Doyle group has pioneered a general technique for cooling and loading atoms and molecules into traps and was the first to laser cool a polyatomic molecule. The group is currently working to put these complex quantum objects into an optical array in order to pursue quantum simulation protocols as well as improve searches for BSM particles. He is the co-Director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative, director of the Japanese Undergraduate Research Exchange Program (JUREP), and co-director of the Harvard/MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms. He has published papers in the areas of ultracold atoms, molecules, spectroscopy, precision measurement, neutrons, and dark matter detection and supervised the PhDs of over thirty students. He is a Humboldt, Fulbright, and American Physical Society Fellow.

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