Ph.D., Yale University, 2008
Observation of a non-zero electron electric dipole moment (EDM) will be explicit evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model. There is significant interest in developing experiments that can probe beyond the current limits for the electron EDM. An experiment to look for the EDM of the electron using the metastable a(1) [3Σ+] state of the PbO molecule has been implemented at Yale University. We populate the a(1) [3Σ+] state of 208PbO using laser-microwave double resonance, and we detect fluorescence, using quantum beat spectroscopy to extract minute frequency changes due to the electron EDM. The experimental method and setup will be described in this thesis. We have demonstrated the ability to manipulate the internal molecular state in such a way as to produce the desired states for our EDM experiment. Efforts were carried out to optimize the state excitation efficiency using an adiabatic following scheme. We performed various experiments to confirm our understanding of molecular state evolution dynamics in a variety of experimental configurations. Our experiment improved the accuracy of previously measured molecular constants of PbO, which cast light on the feasibility of future systematic error checking and reduction. Due to various technical issues, the sensitivity to an electron EDM in this generation of EDM experiment is far less than expected. Two novel proposals for a second generation EDM experiment are considered.