Journal article

Measurement of longitudinal and transverse spin relaxation rates using the ground-state Hanle effect

  • Castagna, Natascia Département de Physique, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Weis, Antoine Département de Physique, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
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  • Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular and Opical Physics. - 2011, vol. 84, no. 5, p. 053421
English We present a theoretical and experimental study of the resonant circularly-polarized-light-induced Hanle effect in the ground state of Cs vapor atoms in a paraffin-coated cell. The effect manifests itself as a narrow resonance (centered at B=0) in the dependence of the optical transmission coefficient of the vapor on the magnitude of an external magnetic field B⃗. We develop a theoretical model that yields an algebraic expression for the shape of these resonances for arbitrary field orientations and arbitrary angular momenta of the states coupled by the exciting light, provided that the light power is kept sufficiently small. An experimental procedure for assessing the range of validity of the model is given. Experiments were carried out on the laser-driven Cs D₁ transition both in longitudinal and transverse field geometries, and the observed line shapes of the corresponding bright and dark resonances give an excellent confirmation of the model predictions. The method is applied for determining the intrinsic longitudinal and transverse relaxation rates of the vector magnetization in the vapor and their dependence on light power.
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