Investigation of the s-2(1/2)-d-2(5/2) clock transition in a single ytterbium ion

P. Taylor, M. Roberts, S.V. GatevaKostova, R.B.M. Clarke, G.P. Barwood, W.R.C. Rowley, P. Gill

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The suitability of the 411-nm 2S1/2-2D5/2 transition in Yb+ is assessed as an optical frequency standard. The lifetime of the 2D5/2 level has been measured and found to be 7.2±0.3 ms, which implies a natural linewidth of 22.2±0.9 Hz for the 411-nm transition. In addition to a decay to the ground state the 2D5/2 level can decay into the highly metastable 2F7/2 level where it is trapped. The branching ratio for decay into the 2F7/2 level has been measured and found to be 0.83±0.03. A transition capable of rapidly depopulating the 2F7/2 level and returning the ion to the cooling cycle has been demonstrated. This has enabled a quantum jump measurement of the 411-nm transition in 172Yb+ to be performed, yielding a center frequency of 729 476 869.13(0.42) MHz (1σ).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2699-2704
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • s-2(1/2)-d-2(5/2)
  • clock transition
  • single ytterbium ion

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