Physics 111: Optical Pumping (OPT) Physics 111 Advanced Laboratory. Professor Sumner Davis This video accompanies the Optical Pumping Experiment, providing students with an introduction to the theory, apparatus, and procedures. This experiment is quantum mechanics in action. When two isotopes of rubidium atoms are placed in a static magnetic field, the electronic states undergo Zeeman energy level splittings in addition to fine structure and hyperfine structure. By applying polarized light at the proper frequency, we can induce transitions from ground state to excited state energy levels. The atoms then decay to higher ground state levels until we have "pumped" all of them into the same (highest) ground state energy level. Then we can see an increase in light passing through the sample because no more can be absorbed. However, when we apply a radiofrequency signal of just the right energy to stimulate transitions to a lower level, we see a sudden decrease in the radiation signal as the system is again pumped to the higher level. By determining the frequency of the RF signal we gain information about the atomic energy levels. http://advancedlab.org
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This video is a part of a lecture series from of berkeley