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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Jan 27;96(3):033001. Epub 2006 Jan 23.

Determination of the fine structure constant based on BLOCH oscillations of ultracold atoms in a vertical optical lattice.

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Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Ecole Normale Supérieure, CNRS, UPMC, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France.


We report an accurate measurement of the recoil velocity of 87Rb atoms based on Bloch oscillations in a vertical accelerated optical lattice. We transfer about 900 recoil momenta with an efficiency of 99.97% per recoil. A set of 72 measurements of the recoil velocity, each one with a relative uncertainty of about 33 ppb in 20 min integration time, leads to a determination of the fine structure constant with a statistical relative uncertainty of 4.4 ppb. The detailed analysis of the different systematic errors yields to a relative uncertainty of 6.7 ppb. The deduced value of alpha-1 is 137.035 998 78(91).

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