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Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter$
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Massimo Inguscio and Leonardo Fallani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525844.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Hydrogen
Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter

Massimo Inguscio

Leonardo Fallani

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to hydrogen, the simplest of the atoms. Spectroscopy of hydrogen represents one of the main methods that allowed physicists to discover the quantum world, since its simple structure constitutes a primary testing ground for fundamental physical theories, from relativistic quantum mechanics to quantum electrodynamics. The history of hydrogen spectroscopy is used to illustrate fundamental steps in laser spectroscopy, including the development of nonlinear Doppler-free spectroscopy and the possibility of performing direct frequency measurements of light with optical frequency combs. State-of-the-art developments in hydrogen spectroscopy for the determination of fundamental constants (e.g., the Rydberg constant and the proton charge radius) are discussed.

Keywords:   hydrogen, sub-Doppler spectroscopy, Rydberg constant, proton charge radius, fundamental constants, frequency measurements, frequency combs

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