Physics Colloquium: A General Method for Single Molecule Spectroscopy

Date and Time
Kohn Hall (Fred Kavli Auditorium)

A General Method for Single Molecule Spectroscopy


3:30 PM   PST

Refreshments at 3:15

KITP Main Auditorium


David Patterson, UCSB


Single molecular ions present a highly attractive platform for high resolution and highly sensitive spectroscopy.  These molecules can be held for many hours in a pristine environment,  and can be motionally laser cooled into the millikelvin regime and below.  Prior to this work,  methods to study "generic" single molecules have not been demonstrated.  Here, we demonstrate a novel single molecule action-spectroscopy technique that is compatible with high precision measurement, and present the first spectra ever recorded of single polyatomic gas-phase molecules.  The method is generally applicable to a wide range of polyatomic molecular ions, and promises spectral resolution comparable to state of the art quantum logic methods, with significantly less stringent experimental overhead.   Progress towards extending this technique to include chiral recognition of single molecules will be discussed.  Adaptations of this technique will prove useful in a wide range of precision spectroscopy arenas including the search for parity violating effects in chiral molecules and searches for biological signatures in samples from beyond Earth.