Barium ion cavity qed and triply ionized thorium ion trapping
Steele, Adam V.
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Trapped cold ions are tools which we used to approach two very disparate areas of physics, strong coupling between Ba+ ions and optical resonators, and investigations of a low-energy nuclear isomer of 229-Th. The first part of this thesis describes our progress towards the integration of a miniature Paul (rf) ion trap with a high finesse (F=30000) optical cavity. Ba+ ions were trapped and cooled for long periods and a new scheme for isotope selective photoionization was developed. The second part of this thesis describes our progress towards controlled excitation of the low energy nuclear isomer of 229-Th, which may provide a bridge between the techniques of cold atomic and nuclear physics. As a step towards this goal, 232-Th3+ ions were confined in rf ions traps and cooled via collisions with a buffer gas of helium. A sophisticated scanning program was developed for controlling ion trap loading, tuning lasers, and running a CCD camera to look for fluorescence. The low-lying electronic transitions of Th3+ at 984 nm, 690 nm and 1087 nm were observed via laser fluorescence.