Molecular laser cooling has the potential to provide access to ultracold molecules with a wide variety of properties and internal structures. This project seeks to capitalize on this generality to laser cool and trap the simplest organic molecules for tests of tunable ultracold organic chemistry. CH radicals are a particularly promising candidate to laser cool and trap at high phase-space density. The low mass of this species combined with optical transitions in the blue and ultraviolet may enable large optical forces to be realized for the efficient slowing of molecular beams. Our first goal is to produce a bright beam of cold and slow CH radicals, a potentially challenging task due to the highly reactive nature of this tri-radical.
In the long term, trapped samples of CH will allow us to test and understand the quantum mechanical rules that govern chemical reactivity. This species is especially relevant for reactions that take place within the interstellar medium and during combustion processes. CH radicals may also be carefully dissociated to produce exotic ultracold samples of carbon and hydrogen atoms for further tests of ultracold chemistry and precision spectroscopy. If you’d like to learn more about this project, please contact us here.