- We are developing a new technique to optically manipulate & probe nuclei embedded inside of cryogenic solids in the form of diamagnetic atoms (Ra-225 or Yb-171) or molecules (RaO or PaN). The major advantage of this technique is the near unity capture efficiency, which is critical when studying rare nuclei such as Ra-225 and Pa-229.
- We are part of the Radium EDM Collaboration (with Argonne and Kentucky). Ra-225 has a two week half life and is expected to be about a thousand times more sensitive than Hg-199. Our method uses laser cooling & trapping to collect & transport the atoms into a measurement region. Cold atoms that are tightly confined spatially by a laser trap are less sensitive to “vxE” systematic effects as well to magnetic & electric field inhomogeneities. Our long term goal, which could potentially take advantage of large amounts of Ra that will be produced at FRIB, is to perform a measurement with a physics sensitivity beyond what can be achieved with nearly spherical nuclei.
- We are part of the Xe EDM Collaboration (with TU-Munich, Michigan, and PTB). Large magnetizations of both Xe-129 and He-3 can be produced using spin exchange optical pumping. Very long spin precession times can be achieved in properly prepared glass containers in a carefully controlled magnetic field environment. Very high signal to noise measurements can be made using SQUID magnetometers. Our approach is to combine all three to improve the Xe-129 EDM limit by at least an order of magnitude over the previous limit. Our immediate goals are to develop polarized noble gas magnetometry for Neutron EDM experiments as well as to study the feasibility of developing a competitive Xe-129 EDM search.
Controlling Nuclear Spins Using Light
We are developing a new technique to optically manipulate & probe nuclei embedded inside of cryogenic solids in the form of atoms and molecules. Thin films of frozen noble gases, such as neon, are a transparent & quiet environment for nuclear spins. Hours long spin precession times are achievable even at high spin densities. Applications of this technique include:
- test of fundamental symmetries using rare nuclei
- measurements of rare nuclear reactions relevant for nuclear astrophysics
- long term storage & memory for quantum information processing