Towards improved measurements of parity violation in atomic ytterbium
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- Antypas, D., Fabricant, A., Bougas, L. et al. Hyperfine Interact (2017) 238: 21. doi:10.1007/s10751-017-1396-8
We report on progress towards performing precision measurements of parity violation in Yb, in which the theoretical prediction for a strong weak-interaction-induced effect in the 6s2 1S0→ 5d6s3D1 optical transition at 408 nm has already been confirmed, with a measurement of the effect at the ≈10 % level of accuracy. With a new atomic-beam apparatus offering enhanced sensitivity, we are aiming at precisely determining the parity violation observable in Yb, which will allow us to probe the distributions of neutrons in different isotopes, investigate physics beyond the Standard Model, as well as to study intra-nucleus weak interactions, through an observation of the anapole moment of Yb nuclei with nonzero spin. We present the experimental principle employed to probe atomic parity violation, describe our new apparatus, and discuss the attained experimental sensitivity as well as the methods for characterizing systematics in these measurements.