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Single-atom detection by SONRES

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3 Author(s)
Gelbwachs, J.A. ; The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, USA ; Klein, C. ; Wessel, J.

The new method of atomic fluorescence detection, called saturated optical nonresonant emission spectroscopy (SONRES), has been modeled for a three-level atom, and experiments on sodium have been conducted that support the model. A rate equation analysis yielded expressions for excited-state atomic populations and saturation intensity. The detection of sodium in buffer gases that promote collisional transfer of excitation between 32P1/2→ 32p3/2both without quenching the fluorescence emission and with quenching was considered. Experimental results are presented for sodium in argon. At -25°C, approximately 180 atoms/cm3were monitored with a S/N of ∼ 15 representing detection at the level of one part in 1017. The signal at this temperature was generated by less than a single atom in the laser beam.

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb 1978

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