Physics at Virginia

"Atom Interferometry Measurements of Atomic Polarizabilities and Tune-out Wavelengths"

Alex Cronin , University of Arizona
[Host: Cass Sackett]

Atom interferometry, in which de Broglie waves of matter are coherently split and later recombined to make interference fringes, is a precision measurement method with applications in many fields of physics.  In Arizona, we measured the ground-state static electric-dipole polarizabilities of Cs, Rb, and K atoms with 0.2% uncertainty using an atom beam interferometer.  We also measured a tune-out wavelength for K atoms with sub-picometer uncertainty.  I will discuss how these experiments use electric field gradients to induce polarizability-dependent phase shifts for atomic de Broglie waves. Our measurements provide benchmark tests for atomic structure calculations and thus test the underlying theory used to predict van der Waals forces and to interpret atomic parity non-conservation experiments.

Friday, March 18, 2016
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special room.

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