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Optical spectroscopy of heavy element containing molecules in support of fundamental physics

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Transient molecules are of great importance having proposed applications in quantum science and technology and tests of fundamental physics. In the present dissertation, the transient molecules studied are SrOH, ThF, ThCl, YbF and YbOH; each having been selected because of

Transient molecules are of great importance having proposed applications in quantum science and technology and tests of fundamental physics. In the present dissertation, the transient molecules studied are SrOH, ThF, ThCl, YbF and YbOH; each having been selected because of their proposed application. Specifically, SrOH is a candidate of constructing a molecular magneto-optical trap (MOT). The simple actinide molecules, ThF and ThCl, were selected as ligand bonding model systems to gain insight into chemical processing of Spent Nuclear Fuel. The lanthanides YbF and YbOH are venues for the determination of electron electric dipole moment (eEDM) and the studies in this dissertation provide the requisite properties for those experiments.

Intense supersonic molecular beams of these transient molecules were generated via laser ablation and spectroscopically characterized using a novel medium-resolution two-dimensional (2D) spectroscopic approach, as well as high-resolution laser induced fluorescence (LIF). The 2D medium resolution approach, which was used in the studies SrOH, ThF, ThCl and YbOH, uses a multiplexing method that simultaneously records dispersed fluorescence and excitation spectra. A significant advantage of 2D-LIF imaging is that all the electronics states can be targeted to determine the electronics states and associated vibrational spacing individually. Consequently, in the 2D spectra of ThF, ThCl and YbOH, several previously unobserved band systems have been detected in one single scan. For the DF spectra of SrOH and YbOH, the determined branching ratios show that the transitions of these molecules are diagonal (i.e. Δv=0), which is essential for the proposed potential for laser cooling. In the high-resolution of YbF, ThF, ThCl and SrOH optical spectra were recorded to an accuracy of ±30 MHz, which represents an unprecedented precision of 1:10+8.

In addition to field free spectra, optical Stark and Zeeman studies were performed to determine the most fundamental magneto-and electro-static properties. Effective Hamiltonian operators were employed to analyze the recorded spectra and determine the spectroscopic parameters. This data set also establishes a contribution toward developing new computational methodologies for treating relativistic effects and electron correlation.

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2019