3 years ago

Direct detection of the 229Th nuclear clock transition.

Norbert G. Trautmann, Mustapha Laatiaoui, Christoph E. Düllmann, Benedict Seiferle, Jörg Runke, Peter G. Thirolf, Klaus Eberhardt, Lars von der Wense, Christoph Mokry, Hans-Jörg Maier, Hans-Friedrich Wirth, Jürgen B. Neumayr

Today's most precise time and frequency measurements are performed with optical atomic clocks. However, it has been proposed that they could potentially be outperformed by a nuclear clock, which employs a nuclear transition instead of the atomic shell transitions used so far. By today there is only one nuclear state known which could serve for a nuclear clock using currently available technology, which is the isomeric first excited state in $^{229}$Th. Here we report the direct detection of this nuclear state, which is a further confirmation of the isomer's existence and lays the foundation for precise studies of the isomer's decay parameters. Based on this direct detection the isomeric energy is constrained to lie between 6.3 and 18.3 eV, and the half-life is found to be longer than 60 s for $^{229\mathrm{m}}$Th$^{2+}$. More precise determinations appear in reach and will pave the way for the development of a nuclear frequency standard.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1710.11398

DOI: arXiv:1710.11398v1

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