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Pathway toward Optical Cycling and Laser Cooling of Functionalized Arenes

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Rapid and repeated photon cycling has enabled precision metrology and the development of quantum information systems using atoms and simple molecules. Extending optical cycling to structurally complex molecules would provide new capabilities in these areas, as well as in ultracold chemistry. Increased molecular complexity, however, makes realizing closed optical transitions more difficult. Building on already established strong optical cycling of diatomic, linear triatomic, and symmetric top molecules, recent work has pointed the way to cycling of larger molecules, including phenoxides. The paradigm for these systems is an optical cycling center bonded to a molecular ligand. Theory has suggested that cycling may be extended to even larger ligands, like naphthalene, pyrene, and coronene. Herein, we study optical excitation and fluorescent vibrational branching of CaO-[Formula: see text], SrO-[Formula: see text], and CaO-[Formula: see text] and find only weak decay to excited vibrational states, indicating a promising path to full quantum control and laser cooling of large arene-based molecules.

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