Photons from nuclear clock transition are seen at long last – Physics World

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Article via on 02 Jun 2023

The first direct measurement has been made of a thorium-229 nuclear transition that could potentially form the basis for a “nuclear clock”.
Much smaller antennaSuch a nuclear clock would be extremely well isolated from external noise.
Thorium-229, however, has a metastable excited state around 8 eV above the ground state – a transition that lies in the vacuum ultraviolet.
Now, Kraemer and colleagues have made the first direct detection of the emitted vacuum ultraviolet photons by studying excited thorium-229 ions.
“There is very significant potential for this thorium-229 system as a nuclear clock and even more so to do tests of fundamental physics eventually,” he says.

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