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Quantum State Preparation and Control of Single Molecular Ions

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Journal Article - Open Access

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National Institute of Standards and Technology, Time and Frequency Division Boulder United States

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Preparing molecules at rest and in a very pure quantum state is a long-standing aspiration in chemistry and physics, so far achieved only for a select set of molecules in dedicated experimental setups. Here, a quantum-limited combination of mass spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy is proposed that should be applicable to a wide range of molecular ions. Excitation of electrons in the molecule followed by uncontrolled decay and branching into several lower-energy states is avoided. Instead, the molecule is always confined to rotational states within the electronic and vibrational ground-state manifold, while a co-trapped atomic ion provides efficient entropy removal and allows for extraction of information about the molecule. The outlined techniques might enable the preparation, manipulation and measurement of a multitude of molecular ion species with the same instrument, with applications including, but not limited to, precise determination of molecular properties and fundamental tests of physics.

Subject Categories:

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy
  • Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particle Physics

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