Université Paul Sabatier - Bat. 3R1b4 - 118 route de Narbonne 31062 Toulouse Cedex 09, France

Accueil > Publications > Publications par année > Année 2006

Measurement of the electric polarizability of lithium by atom interferometry

We have built an atom interferometer and, by applying
an electric field on one of the two interfering beams, we
have measured the static electric polarizability of lithium
a=(24.33±0.16)×10–30 m3
with a 0.66% uncertainty. Our experiment is similar to an
experiment done on sodium in 1995 by Pritchard and
co-workers, with several improvements : the electric field
can be calculated analytically and the interference signals
have a large intensity and a high visibility, resulting in
accurate phase measurements. This experiment illustrates the extreme sensitivity of atom interferometry : when the atom enters the
electric field, its velocity increases and the fractional
change, equal to 4×10–9 for our largest
field, is measured with a 10–3 accuracy.

Voir en ligne : Phys. Rev. A 73, 011603(R) (2006)