Magnetic field effects on the 1 083 nm atomic line of helium
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The structure of the excited 23S and 23P triplet states of 3He and 4He in an applied magnetic field B is studied using different approximations of the atomic Hamiltonian. All optical transitions (line positions and intensities) of the 1 083 nm 23S- 23P transition are computed as a function of B. The effect of metastability exchange collisions between atoms in the ground state and in the 23S metastable state is studied, and rate equations are derived, for the populations these states in the general case of an isotopic mixture in an arbitrary field B. It is shown that the usual spin-temperature description remains valid. A simple optical pumping model based on these rate equations is used to study the B-dependence of the population couplings which result from the exchange collisions. Simple spectroscopy measurements are performed using a single-frequency laser diode on the 1 083 nm transition. The accuracy of frequency scans and of measurements of transition intensities is studied. Systematic experimental verifications are made for B = 0 to 1.5 T. Optical pumping effects resulting from hyperfine decoupling in high field are observed to be in good agreement with the predictions of the simple model. Based on adequately chosen absorption measurements at 1 083 nm, a general optical method to measure the nuclear polarisation of the atoms in the ground state in an arbitrary field is described. It is demonstrated at B∼ 0.1 T, a field for which the usual optical methods could not operate.
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