Abstract

We report on the direct experimental observation of the 7pP23/27dD2 optical transitions in 209 and 210 francium isotopes. By continuously monitoring the fluorescence emitted by the isotopes collected in a magneto-optical trap (MOT), the electric dipole transitions 7pP23/27dD25/2 of Fr209, not yet experimentally observed, and 7pP23/27dD25/2, 7pP23/27dD25/2 of Fr210 were detected as sub-Doppler depletion dips of the cold atom population. This approach allowed unambiguous identification of the excited state hyperfine structures, even in the absence of a large stable vapor. Our findings demonstrate the effectiveness and the flexibility of fluorescence monitoring of trap depletion upon laser excitation, and broaden the experimental knowledge of francium isotopes and their electronic and nuclear properties. These results will have a relevant impact on ongoing researches for low-energy testing of fundamental symmetries with francium, from atomic parity non-conservation to the electron dipole moment.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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