Laser optical pumping of high-density Rb in polarized He3 targets

M. E. Wagshul, T. E. Chupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


We have investigated high-density Rb optical pumping in polarized He3 targets and present measurements of collisional relaxation rates and studies of diffusion-driven wall relaxation of the Rb polarization. We show that a boundary layer resides in the vicinity of the cell walls within which a polarization gradient is established by diffusion. Absorption of the incident laser radiation within this layer leads to a striking decrease in optical-pumping efficiency for resonant light but has little effect for off-resonant light. Our theory introduces polarization-dependent slowing of optical pumping rates due to the Rb nuclear spin. We have observed a strong frequency dependence of the optical-pumping efficiency, consistent with our theoretical predictions. We report the following rate constants for collisional relaxation of Rb polarization: due to Rb (kRb-Rb=8×10-13 cm3/s), due to N2 (kN2-Rb=8×10-18 cm3/s), and due to He3, an upper limit of (k3He-Rb≤2×10-18 cm3/s). The data and model presented are used to predict laser power and intensity requirements for high-density polarized He3 targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3854-3869
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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