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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.124) 4 Helium
Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter

Massimo Inguscio

Leonardo Fallani

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts with the spectrum of helium, which has qualitatively different properties from hydrogen and alkali atoms, owing to the presence of two electrons. It discuses important applications of helium, from high-precision spectroscopy for the determination of fundamental constants (e.g., nuclear charge radii) to the investigation of quantum degenerate metastable helium gases for experiments involving quantum atom optics. Moving on from the spectroscopy of the helium fine structure, the last part of the chapter focuses on experimental techniques for the determination of the fine structure constant, including the measurement of the electron gyromagnetic anomaly and the measurement of the atomic recoil which follows the absorption of photons.

Keywords:   helium, high-precision spectroscopy, quantum atom optics, fine structure constant, electron gyromagnetic anomaly, atomic recoil

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