New prospects for cold molecular physics
The role of molecular spectroscopy in the broader interests of physics has evolved over the years. It was traditionally the study of molecular structure and its underlying quantum mechanics. Later, it led to various applications including the first “atomic clock” that was actually based on molecular vibrations and to the observation of star light redshifts that reveal the expansion of the universe. More recent advances in techniques for quantum manipulation bring new directions to molecular physics where molecules serve as test systems to study a variety of phenomena. In this talk, I will discuss two examples. First, we make use of the extreme electric fields found within a molecular bond in an experiment that aims to improve our knowledge of the electron's electric dipole moment (eEDM), which will be sensitive to physics beyond the standard model. In the second example, quantum control of molecular internal and external states enables the study of ultra-cold chemistry, and may yield undiscovered quantum phases of matter.