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Title: Progress towards laser cooling of BH molecules
Author: Holland, Darren
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 5463
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates the suitability of BH molecules for laser cooling and describes progress towards the laser cooling of this molecule. We produce a molecular beam of BH and measure the branching ratios for the excited electronic state, A^{1}\Pi(v_{0}=0), to decay to the various vibrational states of the ground electronic state, X^{1}\Sigma. We verify that the branching ratio for the spin-forbidden transition to an intermediate triplet state is inconsequentially small. We measure the frequency of the lowest rotational transition of the X state, and the hyper fine structure in the relevant levels of both the X and A states, and determine the nuclear electric quadrupole and magnetic dipole coupling constants. We use a semiclassical model of the molecule-light interaction to investigate the expected cycling behaviour on the main cooling transition using light with modulated polarisation. The results of the model are compared with the effect of modulating the polarisation experimentally using an electro-optic modulator. In order to repump the population that leaks into the first vibrationally excited state, we have designed, built and tested a suitable repump laser and have demonstrated that we can drive the repump transition. We have also designed a Zeeman slower for slowing molecules to low velocity so that they can be trapped. Our results show that a relatively simple laser cooling scheme can be used to cool, slow and trap BH molecules.
Supervisor: Tarbutt, Michael ; Sauer, Ben Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral