Abstract

We identify a considerable improvement in proposed schemes for isotopic depletion of zirconium-91 on the basis of the atomic vapor laser isotope separation (AVLIS) method. The improvement lies in applying a single-longitudinal-mode dye laser for selective excitation of all hyperfine split levels of the ground state of zirconium-91. High-resolution laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy of atomic beams of zirconium produced through laser vaporization–supersonic expansion has been used to identify transitions of zirconium with suitable hyperfine structure. Casimir magnetic-dipole and electric-quadrupole coupling constants and isotope shifts have been derived and are reported for five excited configurations. Suitable intermediate levels in a multistep resonance ionization pathway have been identified by two-color resonance ionization spectroscopy. Isotope depletion has been demonstrated on one ground-state-transition ( zF33aF32at 593.7 nm) by using a specially constructed pulsed, single-longitudinal-mode dye-laser oscillator. Prospects and future directions in zirconium AVLIS are discussed.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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