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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

Description

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
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10440/978
Source: Physical Review Letters
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.053002

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