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UNC Physics Colloquium – Andrew Jayich
January 31 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
UNC Physics Colloquium
Andrew Jayich, University of California, Santa Barbara
“Radium ions and radioactive molecules”
Abstract: The bottom row of the periodic table is famous for its radioactive elements, which compared to stable isotopes are little-explored. Many heavy radioisotopes have exotic nuclei which grant them enhanced discovery potential. Radioactive elements also hold promise for advancing technology. Modern atomic physics techniques, such as laser cooling and ion trapping, allow for efficient use of unstable elements and their study in highly-controlled environments. In this context we will discuss our recent work with laser-cooled radium ions. This heavy species is promising for controlling other radioactive atoms and molecules at the level of single quantum states and studying them with high precision spectroscopy. To date with trapped radium ions we have produced a number of radioactive molecules which are good candidates for studying time symmetry violation to address open questions in physics. We have also developed a new technique for rapidly identifying molecular ions. In addition to producing and controlling molecules, the radium ion holds promise in its own right, for example as a transportable optical clock candidate.