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Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Simon Cornish

Hanley, Ryan K., Gregory, Philip D., Hughes, Ifan G. & Cornish, Simon L. (2015). Absolute absorption on the potassium D lines: theory and experiment. Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 48(19): 195004.

Author(s) from Durham


We present a detailed study of the absolute Doppler-broadened absorption of a probe beam scanned across the potassium D lines in a thermal vapour. Spectra using a weak probe were measured on the 4S $\to $ 4P transition and compared to the theoretical model of the electric susceptibility detailed by Zentile et al (2015 Comput. Phys. Commun. 189 162–74) in the code named ElecSus. Comparisons were also made on the 4S $\to $ 5P transition with an adapted version of ElecSus. This is the first experimental test of ElecSus on an atom with a ground state hyperfine splitting smaller than that of the Doppler width. An excellent agreement was found between ElecSus and experimental measurements at a variety of temperatures with rms errors $\sim {10}^{-3}$. We have also demonstrated the use of ElecSus as an atomic vapour thermometry tool, and present a possible new measurement technique of transition decay rates which we predict to have a precision of ~$3\;\mathrm{kHz}$.