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Nuclear Schiff Moment Search in Thallium Fluoride Molecular Beam: Rotational Cooling

Wenz, Konrad

The search for physics beyond the Standard Model has been a main focus of the scientific community for several decades. Unknown physics in the form of new interactions violating the simultaneous reversal of charge and parity symmetries (CP) would, for example, provide a significant step towards understanding the baryon matter-antimatter asymmetry observed in the Universe. Such parameters are predicted to also manifest themselves in atomic and molecular systems in the form of both: permanent electric dipole moments and nuclear charge distribution asymmetries described by the nuclear Schiff moment. Both can be measured to a high degree of precision in modern experiments, allowing us to place stringent limits on parameters appearing in new fundamental theories.

The Cold Molecule Nuclear Time Reversal Experiment (CeNTREX) is the latest approach to probing these effects. CeNTREX is a molecular beam experiment that uses thallium fluoride (²⁰⁵Tl⁹F) as its test species to measure energy shifts induced by the interaction of thallium's nuclear Schiff moment. It does so by performing nuclear magnetic resonance using a separate oscillatory fields technique. The precision of this measurement is dictated by the free precession time and the number of interrogated molecules, and is significantly enhanced by thallium fluoride's inherent properties.

Employing novel methods, CeNTREX strives to achieve significant improvements to limits placed on the fundamental parameters. One such method is rotational cooling. It was thoroughly analyzed, simulated and experimentally confirmed - with the help of optical and microwave pumping, we collapsed the initial Boltzmann distribution of molecules amongst their rotational states into one chosen hyperfine state of the ground rotational state manifold.

The efficiency of this process depends on multiple factors, the most crucial being the approach towards dark state destabilization and remixing. After careful investigation, we chose the most appropriate method and devised an efficient rotational cooling scheme. Experimental confirmation showed an enhancement factor of r𝑓23.70±1.13, very close to our theoretical predictions. This allows us to conclude that CeNTREX should provide a 2500-fold improvement over the current best measurements of the nuclear Schiff moment in thallium nucleus.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Zelevinsky, Tanya
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 1, 2021