Quantum Optics with Ultra-Narrow Gamma Resonances
- View All
Resonance, the strong response of matter to a periodic (oscillating) force in a narrow frequency range (called the "resonance width") in the vicinity of the characteristic frequency of the system (the "resonant frequency"), is a widespread general physical phenomenon. Different types of resonances such as electronic, plasmonic, atomic, and molecular resonances, occur in a wide range of frequencies (from radio frequency to infrared, optical, and ultra-violet), and find numerous applications. For example, they are used to pick up a particular radio station, to generate laser radiation, to detect trace amounts of specific chemical compounds, and to keep a clock ticking at the same rate. Resonance quality factors (defined as the ratio of the resonant frequency to the resonance width) have been achieved as high as 10 to the 17th power (1 followed by 17 zeros) using the electrons inside ultra-cold atoms. By using the atomic nucleus rather than the electrons, researchers funded by this grant are attempting to reach orders of magnitude higher quality factors (such as 10 to the 19th power). These resonances are at x-ray/gamma-ray frequencies rather than at the frequencies corresponding to visible light. Using the nucleus does not require a deep cooling of the atom, and is not limited to small diluted collections of atoms--it can be done in bulk (solid) matter at room temperature. However their investigation is challenging due to the absence of the techniques to produce relatively bright spectrally narrow x-ray/gamma-ray radiation and to control its interaction with the nucleus. This project aims at the development of such techniques and at the demonstration, exploration and applications of the ultra-narrow nuclear gamma-ray resonances. Its successful realization would give strong impetus to the development of quantum nuclear metrologies and technologies, from nuclear clocks to super-resolution nuclear spectrometers, from spectrally enhanced quasi-monochromatic x-ray sources to compact long-lived nuclear quantum memories with potential applications in high-precision tests of fundamental physics, quantum information science, chemistry, biology, medicine, and material nanoscience. The graduate and undergraduate students will be trained in this emerging highly interdisciplinary research field on the borderlines between quantum and x-ray optics by learning the experimental techniques, analytical methods, and numerical modeling.........