Jongseok Lim (Imperial College, London)

Laser cooled molecules for tests of fundamental physics

The Standard Model of particle physics, our current best theory for how the universe operates, is known to be incomplete because it fails to explain several important observations. One of these is the origin of the observed asymmetry between the amount of matter and antimatter in the visible universe. While we cannot currently explain what caused the asymmetry, we know that it requires the presence of new interactions violating several fundamental symmetries. An electron with an electric dipole moment is one direct signature of such symmetry violation, which can be tested via precision measurements using heavy polar molecules.

Currently, efforts for measuring the electron electric dipole moment (eEDM) using molecules are often hindered by short coherence time or a small number of molecules. To overcome these challenges, we propose to use YbF molecules cooled to a few microkelvins and confined in an optical lattice. Leveraging laser-cooled molecules, we anticipate achieving both long coherence times and a large number of molecules in the lattice. In this talk, I will present the progress made towards this goal, aiming for measuring the eEDM with unprecedented precision. With very careful measurements, such table-top experiments will enable us to probe new physics with energies equal to, or even above, those reached by gigantic particle accelerators such as Large Hadron Collider at CERN.