Experimental searches for the electron electric-dipole moment (EDM) probe new physics beyond the standard model. The current best EDM limit was set by the ACME Collaboration [Science 343, 269 (2014) SCIEAS 0036-8075 10.1126/science.1248213], constraining time-reversal symmetry (T) violating physics at the TeV energy scale. ACME used optical pumping to prepare a coherent superposition of ThO H3Δ1 states that have aligned electron spins. Spin precession due to the molecule's internal electric field was measured to extract the EDM. We report here on an improved method for preparing this spin-aligned state of the electron by using stimulated Raman adiabatic passage (STIRAP). We demonstrate a transfer efficiency of 75%±5%, representing a significant gain in signal for a next-generation EDM experiment. We discuss the particularities of implementing STIRAP in systems such as ours, where molecular ensembles with large phase-space distributions are transferred via weak molecular transitions with limited laser power and limited optical access.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics