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Hadrons and Nuclei

Eur. Phys. J. A 13, 239-242 (2002)

Atomic probes of electromagnetic and weak interactions with trapped radioactive atoms

G.D. Sprouse, S. Aubin, E. Gomez, J.S. Grossman, L.A. Orozco, M.R. Pearson and M. True

Department of Physics and Astronomy, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800, USA


(Received: 1 May 2001)

The alkali element francium has a simple electronic structure, and copious amounts of a wide range of isotopes can be produced in present and future rare isotope facilities. The atomic parity violating weak interaction in Fr is 18 times larger than in Cs, which makes it one of the best candidates to search for the effects of the weak interaction and its isotopic dependence. Atomic trapping methods now offer new ways to study these atoms with precision, and we will discuss some of our recent measurements with trapped Fr atoms. Future measurements of the spin-independent weak interaction can be used to test the standard model, but advances in atomic theory and improved understanding of the neutron distribution in nuclei are needed to make progress. We have made precise hyperfine-anomaly measurements in Fr and have shown that they are sensitive to the radial distribution of the neutron magnetization. Measurements of this type can help to constrain the neutron distributions. Future measurements of the spin-dependent weak interaction should allow extraction of the nuclear anapole moments for a sequence of isotopes, and allow separation of the neutron and proton weak interactions between hadrons.

21.10.Ky - Electromagnetic moments.
32.80.Pj - Optical cooling of atoms; trapping.

© Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002