Atomic Physics Seminar: Lothar Maisenbacher, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, “Precision spectroscopy of the 2S-6P transition in atomic hydrogen”

Event time: 
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Sloane Physics Laboratory (SPL), Room 52 See map
217 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Precision measurements of atomic hydrogen (H) have long been successfully used to extract fundamental constants and to test bound-state quantum electrodynamics. Both the Rydberg constant R∞ and the proton root mean square charge radius rp are determined to a large degree by H spectroscopy, requiring the measurement of at least two transition frequencies. With the very precisely measured 1S-2S transition frequency [1] serving as a corner stone, the current limitation of this extraction is the measurement precision of other H transition frequencies. We have recently measured the 2S-4P transition in H with a relative uncertainty of 4 parts in 1012 [2], allowing the most accurate determination of R∞ and rp from atomic hydrogen. Moreover, we find good agreement of rp with the much more precise value extracted from spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen [3].

We are working on a conceptually similar measurement of the 2S-6P transition in H, which has a three times lower line width of 3.9 MHz compared to the 2S- 4P transition. A cryogenic beam of H atoms is optically excited to the initial 2S state and then interacts with a standing wave at 410 nm, driving the one-photon 2S-6P transition. Custom-designed optics are used to avoid any residual running component of this light field, which would otherwise lead to a first-order Doppler shift. As the 6P state has a high sensitivity to stray electric fields, special care was taken to suppress these fields to a sufficiently low level. Furthermore, we have greatly improved the quantum efficiency of our fluorescence detection. We are currently investigating a potential frequency shift caused by the light force acting on the atoms in the standing light wave. Here, I will discuss preliminary results and implications on the determination of the proton radius.

[1] C. G. Parthey et al., Physical Review Letters 107, 203001 (2011).
[2] A. Beyer, L. Maisenbacher, A. Matveev et al., Science 358, 79 (2017).
[3] A. Antognini et al., Science 339, 417 (2013).

Host: David DeMille (