Laser Spectroscopy of a Single Barium Ion Using “Shelving”
It has been pointed out elsewhere  that a single, laser-cooled atomic ion can be used to perform optical spectroscopy that is free from all conventional shifts and broadenings to the part in 1018 level. If one is to construct a practical spectrometer based on a single ion with comparable long term stability, signal to noise considerations make it imperative that virtually every transition between the ground state and metastable excited state be detected. This is particularly true when working with single ions, where conventional techniques which depend upon the observation of a single fluorescent photon from each excitation would detect only a small percentage of the forbidden transitions, resulting in an unacceptably low data rate.
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