My group is taking the techniques of precise quantum control and measurement that characterize modern atomic physics and applying them to the system of diatomic molecules. Molecules are more complex than atoms because of their internal vibrational and rotational motions, and this makes them more difficult to control. However, our group has learned how to make use of these “new” properties to provide powerful types of leverage on a broad range of scientific problems. These span fields all the way from particle physics, to quantum computation, to chemical physics. For example, we use molecules to amplify the effect of a tiny deviation in the shape of an electron from perfectly spherical, which is predicted to arise due to the presence of as-yet undiscovered elementary particles. We are also using molecules cooled to temperatures near absolute zero to control chemical reactions through their quantum-mechanical nature.

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