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Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Jun 5;114(22):223003. Epub 2015 Jun 5.

Rotational State Microwave Mixing for Laser Cooling of Complex Diatomic Molecules.

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JILA, National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Colorado, and Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.
Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


We demonstrate the mixing of rotational states in the ground electronic state using microwave radiation to enhance optical cycling in the molecule yttrium (II) monoxide (YO). This mixing technique is used in conjunction with a frequency modulated and chirped continuous wave laser to slow longitudinally a cryogenic buffer-gas beam of YO. We generate a flux of YO below 10 m/s, directly loadable into a three-dimensional magneto-optical trap. This technique opens the door for laser cooling of diatomic molecules with more complex loss channels due to intermediate states.

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