Sub-Doppler Cooling and Compressed Trapping of YO Molecules at uK Temperatures
Complex molecular structure demands customized solutions to laser cooling by extending its general set of principles and practices. Compared with other laser-cooled molecules, yttrium monoxide (YO) exhibits a large electron-nucleus interaction, resulting in a dominant hyperfine interaction over the electron spin-rotation coupling. The YO ground state is thus comprised of two manifolds of closely spaced states, with one of them possessing a negligible Landé g factor. This unique energy level structure favors dual-frequency dc magneto-optical trapping (MOT) and gray molasses cooling (GMC). We report exceptionally robust cooling of YO at 4μK
over a wide range of laser intensity, detunings (one- and two-photon), and magnetic field. The magnetic insensitivity enables the spatial compression of the molecular cloud by alternating GMC and MOT under the continuous operation of the quadrupole magnetic field. A combination of these techniques produces a laser-cooled molecular sample with the highest phase space density in free space.
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Physical Review X
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