Laser-cooled polyatomic molecules for improved electron electric dipole moment searches

Benjamin L. Augenbraun, Zack D. Lasner, Alexander Frenett, Hiromitsu Sawaoka, Calder Miller, Timothy C. Steimle, John M. Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Doppler and Sisyphus cooling of 174YbOH are achieved and studied. This polyatomic molecule has high sensitivity to physics beyond the Standard Model and represents a new class of species for future high-precision probes of new T-violating physics. The transverse temperature of the YbOH beam is reduced by nearly two orders of magnitude to < 600 μK and the phase-space density is increased by a factor of > 6 via Sisyphus cooling. We develop a full numerical model of the laser cooling of YbOH and find excellent agreement with the data. We project that laser cooling and magneto-optical trapping of long-lived samples of YbOH molecules are within reach and these will allow a high sensitivity probe of the electric dipole moment of the electron. The approach demonstrated here is easily generalized to other isotopologues of YbOH that have enhanced sensitivity to other symmetry-violating electromagnetic moments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022003
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • electron electric dipole moment
  • laser cooling
  • molecular laser cooling
  • precision measurements
  • ultracold molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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