We demonstrate an accurate method for measuring the lifetime of long-lived metastable magnetic states using a magneto-optical trap (MOT). Through optical pumping, the metastable (3s3p) (3)P(1) level is populated in a standard MOT. During the optical pumping process, a fraction of the population is captured in the magnetic quadrupole field of the MOT. When the metastable atoms decay to the (3s(2)) (1)S(0) ground state they are recaptured into the MOT. In this system no alternative cascading transition is possible. The lifetime of the metastable level is measured directly as an exponential load time of the MOT. We have experimentally tested our method by measuring the lifetime of the (3s3p) (3)P(1) of (24)Mg. This lifetime has been measured numerous times previously, but with quite different results. Using our method we find the (3s3p) (3)P(1) lifetime to be (4.4 +/- 0.2) ms. Theoretical values point toward a lower value for the lifetime.

Measurement of the 3s3p ^{3}P_{1} lifetime in magnesium using a magneto-optical trap

MALOSSI, Nicola;
2008

Abstract

We demonstrate an accurate method for measuring the lifetime of long-lived metastable magnetic states using a magneto-optical trap (MOT). Through optical pumping, the metastable (3s3p) (3)P(1) level is populated in a standard MOT. During the optical pumping process, a fraction of the population is captured in the magnetic quadrupole field of the MOT. When the metastable atoms decay to the (3s(2)) (1)S(0) ground state they are recaptured into the MOT. In this system no alternative cascading transition is possible. The lifetime of the metastable level is measured directly as an exponential load time of the MOT. We have experimentally tested our method by measuring the lifetime of the (3s3p) (3)P(1) of (24)Mg. This lifetime has been measured numerous times previously, but with quite different results. Using our method we find the (3s3p) (3)P(1) lifetime to be (4.4 +/- 0.2) ms. Theoretical values point toward a lower value for the lifetime.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11581/287021
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