Laser cooling and trapping of barium

De, S., 2008, s.n.. 164 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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  • Subhadeep De
Laser cooling and trapping of heavy alkaline-earth element barium have been demonstrated for the first time ever. For any possible cycling transition in barium that could provide strong cooling forces, the excited state has a very large branching probability to metastable states. Additional lasers are thus needed to bring the atoms back in to the cooling cycle. In this work barium atoms were efficiently collected in a magneto-optical trap (MOT) by large optical forces from the strong 6s2 1S0 – 6s6p 1P1 transition. Trapping of barium has been achieved using up to seven lasers simultaneously. The properties of the barium MOT were characterized. The efficiency of capturing an atom from a thermal atomic beam into the MOT is 0.4(1) %. The developed scheme is very efficient for collecting atoms. Loss rate mechanisms from the trap were studied by observing the decay of the trap population. Typical lifetimes of the MOT cloud are on the order of one second and are limited mainly due to insufficient repumping of metastable states. The range of velocities from which barium atoms can be captured into the MOT is about 30 m/s. Different laser transitions were employed for repumping barium atoms from the 6s5d 3D1 and the 6s5d 3D2 states. They lead to similar trap populations and lifetimes. The temperature of the cold atomic barium cloud was determined to about 5 mK. Atomic properties of the 5d2 3F2 state were studied with trapped atoms, in particular it's lifetime was determined as 160(10) s. This work has shown a possible scheme to trap atoms with a leaky cooling cycle. Since atoms with such properties are the majority of the elements in the periodic table, the number of optically trapable elements can be significantly enlarged. Of particular high interest is radium, which is chemical homologue to barium. The interest in radium stems from it's high sensitivity to possible nuclear and electron permanent electric dipole moments (EDM's). An EDM violates parity as well as time reversal and is therefore of fundamental importance. Searches for such EDM's are among the main research goals of the recently commissioned TRImP facility at KVI.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Award date3-Jan-0001
Print ISBNs9789036735162
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Proefschriften (vorm), Magneto optische verschijnselen, Lasertechniek, Barium , Trapping, atoomspectra, interacties met fotonen

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