Direct measurement of the metastable 3P2 decay rate in krypton

Phys. Rev. A 66, 012507 – Published 30 July 2002
J. Lefers, N. Miller, D. Rupke, D. Tong, and M. Walhout


We use a magneto-optical trap to isolate 84Kr atoms in the metastable 3P2 state and then measure the rate of 125.0-nm fluorescence due to spontaneous magnetic quadrupole (M2) decay. We normalize the overall fluorescence rate from the sample using a “quenching” process in which laser excitation provides a path for prompt decay to the ground state, with each atom emitting one 123.6-nm photon. A single, solar-blind photomultiplier tube is used to detect both the M2 and the quench-induced photons, so that only small corrections relating to spectral response are necessary. We find a spontaneous decay rate of Γ=0.0354(22) s-1, which translates into a lifetime of 28.3(1.8) s. This result is discussed in the context of previous measurements and calculations of 3P2 lifetimes in the rare gases.


  • Received 12 March 2002
  • Published 30 July 2002

© 2002 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

J. Lefers, N. Miller, D. Rupke*, D. Tong, and M. Walhout

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy, Calvin College, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546

  • *Present address: Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
  • Present address: Department of Physics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
  • Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

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