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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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Alkaline‐earth atoms and ions

Alkaline‐earth atoms and ions

(p.155) 5 Alkaline‐earth atoms and ions
Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter

Massimo Inguscio

Leonardo Fallani

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts with the description of alkaline-earth atoms, which feature the same two-electron structure as helium. These atoms are of utmost importance in frontier atomic physics, since their extremely narrow intercombination transitions enable the realization of accurate optical atomic clocks with ultracold atoms confined in optical traps. It then discusses laser cooling and spectroscopy of trapped ions, representing the ultimate frontier of accuracy (below 10−17!) in the realization of optical frequency standards, as well as the most precise measurements ever performed in physics. It concludes with the application of high-precision spectroscopy to general relativity tests and to the search for possible temporal variations of the fundamental constants of nature.

Keywords:   alkaline-earth atoms, intercombination transitions, optical trapping, optical clocks, temporal variations, trapped ions, ion cooling, atomic clocks, fundamental constants

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