The unique optical cycling efficiency of alkaline earth metal–ligand molecules has enabled significant advances in polyatomic laser cooling and trapping. Rotational spectroscopy is an ideal tool for probing the molecular properties that underpin optical cycling, thereby elucidating the design principles for expanding the chemical diversity and scope of these platforms for quantum science. We present a comprehensive study of the structure and electronic properties in alkaline earth metal acetylides with high-resolution microwave spectra of 17 isotopologues of MgCCH, CaCCH, and SrCCH in their 26+ ground electronic states. The precise semiexperimental equilibrium geometry of each species has been derived by correcting the measured rotational constants for electronic and zero-point vibrational contributions calculated with high-level quantum chemistry methods. The well-resolved hyperfine structure associated with the 1,2H, 13C, and metal nuclear spins provides further information on the distribution and hybridization of the metal-centered, optically active unpaired electron. Together, these measurements allow us to correlate trends in chemical bonding and structure with the electronic properties that promote efficient optical cycling essential to next-generation experiments in precision measurement and quantum control of complex polyatomic molecules.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - 11 Jul 2023|
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