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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Mar 3;96(8):083002. Epub 2006 Mar 1.

Direct excitation of the forbidden clock transition in neutral 174Yb atoms confined to an optical lattice.

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  • 1National Institute of Standards and Technology, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA.


We report direct single-laser excitation of the strictly forbidden (6s2)1S0 <--> (6s6p)3P0 clock transition in 174Yb atoms confined to a 1D optical lattice. A small (approximately 1.2 mT) static magnetic field was used to induce a nonzero electric dipole transition probability between the clock states at 578.42 nm. Narrow resonance linewidths of 20 Hz (FWHM) with high contrast were observed, demonstrating a resonance quality factor of 2.6 x 10(13). The previously unknown ac Stark shift-canceling (magic) wavelength was determined to be 759.35 +/- 0.02 nm. This method for using the metrologically superior even isotope can be easily implemented in current Yb and Sr lattice clocks and can create new clock possibilities in other alkaline-earth-like atoms such as Mg and Ca.

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