Optical pumping of an optically thick atomic vapor typically requires a quenching buffer gas, such as N2, to prevent radiation trapping of unpolarized photons which would depolarize the atoms. We show that optical pumping of a trace contamination of Rb present in K metal results in a 4.5 times higher polarization of K than direct optical pumping of K in the absence of N2. Such spin-exchange polarization transfer from optically thin species is useful in a variety of areas, including spin-polarized nuclear scattering targets and electron beams, quantum-nondemolition spin measurements, and ultrasensitive magnetometry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)