The fact that the universe is made entirely out of matter, and contains no free anti-matter, has no physical explanation. The unknown process that created matter in the universe must violate a number of fundamental symmetries, including those that forbid the existence of certain electromagnetic moments of fundamental particles whose signatures are amplified by the large internal fields in polar molecules. We discuss spectroscopic and theoretical investigations into polyatomic molecules designed to combine multiple desirable features for precision measurement and quantum science, such as high polarizability through symmetry-lowering mechanical motions, novel electronic and bonding structures, laser cooling, and exotic nuclei.
Professor Hutzler received his PhD from Harvard University in 2014. He joined the Caltech faculty in 2017. Hutzler probes the fundamental laws of physics through tabletop experiments. With the help of laser beams, he makes very precise measurements of atoms and molecules to search for new particles and forces and "broken symmetries" in the laws of physics. Hutzler's work may help solve the question of what happened to all the antimatter in our universe; researchers believe that very early on in the formation of the universe, broken symmetries may have tipped the balance of matter such that antimatter disappeared. His research also has applications in quantum science: the same laser-based methods he uses for fundamental physics research are useful for controlling and engineering molecular interactions to study quantum information, matter, and chemistry. Professor Hutzler is a recipient of a 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship.