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Metastable helium: a new determination of the longest atomic excited-state lifetime

Hodgman, Sean; Dall, Robert; Byron, Lesa; Buckman, Stephen; Truscott, Andrew; Baldwin, Kenneth


Exited atoms may relax to the ground state by radiative decay, a process which is usually very fast (of order nanoseconds). However, quantum-mechanical selection rules can prevent such rapid decay, in which case these “metastable” states can have lifetimes of order seconds or longer. In this Letter, we determine experimentally the lifetime of the longest-lived neutral atomic state—the first excited state of helium (the 2 3S1 metastable state)—to the highest accuracy yet measured. We use laser...[Show more]

CollectionsANU Research Publications
Date published: 2009
Type: Journal article
Source: Physical Review Letters
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.053002
Access Rights: Open Access


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