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Physics and Astronomy Colloquium – F. William Hersman
October 22 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
UNC-CH Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
F. William Hersman, University of New Hampshire
“Innovations and applications of high-power optical pumping”
Optical pumping involves the resonant illumination of a vapor to selectively produce and control a non-thermal distribution of the atomic states. New technologies to select the output wavelength from high-power diode lasers and narrow their spectrum have enabled new and improved applications. We discuss evolution of technology to select the output wavelength and narrow the spectrum from high-power diode lasers that has enabled increased polarization and production rate of hyperpolarized xenon-129. We present a new laser architecture specifically engineered for optical pumping that utilizes an atomic line filter in an external cavity, and speculate on its utility for improving polarized noble gas production as well as underpinning a new high-energy laser technology for ballistic missile defense.