Candidate for Laser Cooling of a Negative Ion: High-Resolution Photoelectron Imaging of Th

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Laser cooling is a well-established technique for the creation of ensembles of ultracold neutral atoms or positive ions. This ability has opened many exciting new research fields over the past 40 years. However, no negatively charged ions have been directly laser cooled because a cycling transition is very rare in atomic anions. Efforts of more than a decade currently have La- as the most promising candidate. We report on experimental and theoretical studies supporting Th- as a new promising candidate for laser cooling. The measured and calculated electron affinities of Th are, respectively, 4901.35(48) cm-1 and 4832 cm-1, or 0.607 690(60) and 0.599 eV, almost a factor of 2 larger than the previous theoretical value of 0.368 eV. The ground state of Th- is determined to be 6d37s2 F43/2e rather than 6d27s27p G45/2o. The consequence of this is that there are several strong electric dipole transitions between the bound levels arising from configurations 6d37s2 and 6d27s27p in Th-. The potential laser-cooling transition is S1/2o2↔F43/2e with a wavelength of 2.6 μm. The zero nuclear spin and hence lack of hyperfine structure in Th- reduces the potential complications in laser cooling as encountered in La-, making Th- a new and exciting candidate for laser cooling.


  • Rulin Tang
  • Ran Si
  • Zejie Fei
  • Xiaoxi Fu
  • Yuzhu Lu
  • Tomas Brage
  • Hongtao Liu
  • Chongyang Chen
  • Chuangang Ning
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Tsinghua University
  • Fudan University
  • Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Atom- och molekylfysik och optik
TidskriftPhysical Review Letters
Utgåva nummer20
StatusPublished - 2019 nov 12
Peer review utfördJa