T.A. Isaev† The National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute", Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Orlova Roshcha, Gatchina, Leningradskaya Region, 188300, Russian Federation
The methods of laser cooling of atoms have already long been applied to obtain cold and ultracold atomic gases, including degenerate states, in particular, an atomic Bose—Einstein condensate. The application of laser cooling methods to molecules was assumed until recently to be impossible because of the complex structure of molecular levels and the absence of closed cooling cycles for transitions between electronic levels of molecules in the general case. However, it has recently become clear that laser cooling can be performed for a large class of molecules, including not only the simplest diatomic molecules but also polyatomic molecules. The review presents the general principles for identifying suitable molecules and discusses current studies on and further developments in the laser cooling of molecules.
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