OSA's Digital Library

Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Vol. 28, Iss. 19 — Oct. 1, 2003
  • pp: 1814–1816

Measurement of atomic lifetimes with a mode-locked laser

B. M. Patterson, C. D. Lindstrom, T. Takekoshi, J. R. Lowell, C. Villarreal, and R. J. Knize  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 28, Issue 19, pp. 1814-1816 (2003)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (472 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We present a new technique for measuring atomic lifetimes with a mode-locked laser. A single laser pulse excites the atoms and a subsequent frequency-doubled pulse ionizes the excited-state atoms. The ions are collected and counted. The measurement is repeated using excitation and detection pulses with different time separations, which determines the excited-state decay rate. We demonstrated this technique for the 6P3/2 state of cesium. The measured lifetime was 30.5 ns and had a statistical uncertainty of 0.1 ns. Systematic effects limited the overall experimental uncertainty to ~0.6>ns in this initial experiment.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(020.4900) Atomic and molecular physics : Oscillator strengths

B. M. Patterson, C. D. Lindstrom, T. Takekoshi, J. R. Lowell, C. Villarreal, and R. J. Knize, "Measurement of atomic lifetimes with a mode-locked laser," Opt. Lett. 28, 1814-1816 (2003)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. J. N. Demas, Excited State Lifetime Measurements (Academic, New York, 1983).
  2. S. C. Bennett and C. E. Wieman, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 2484 (1999).
  3. C. S. Wood, S. C. Bennett, D. Cho, B. P. Masterson, J. L. Roberts, C. E. Tanner, and C. E. Wieman, Science 275, 1759 (1997).
  4. S. A. Blundell, J. Sapirstein, and W. R. Johnson, Phys. Rev. A 43, 3407 (1991).
  5. R. J. Rafac, C. E. Tanner, A. E. Livingston, and H. G. Berry, Phys. Rev. A 60, 3648 (1999).
  6. L. Young, W. T. Hill III, S. J. Sibener, S. D. Price, C. E. Tanner, C. E. Wieman, and S. R. Leone, Phys. Rev. A 50, 2174 (1994).
  7. A. Derevianko and S. G. Porsev, Phys. Rev. A 65, 053403 (2002).
  8. C. Amiot, O. Dulieu, R. F. Gutterres, and F. Masnou-Seeuws, Phys. Rev. A 66, 052506 (2002).
  9. Th. Udem, R. Holzwarth, and T. W. Hänsch, Nature 416, 233 (2002).
  10. Assuming a two-photon cross section of s2=1×10-49 cm4 s ; see M. R. Teague, P. Lambropoulos, D. Goodmanson, and D. W. Norcross, Phys. Rev. A 14, 1057 (1976).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited