This book illustrates the history of Atomic Physics and shows how its most recent advances allow the possibility of performing precise measurements and achieving an accurate control on the atomic state. Written in an introductory style, this book is addressed to advanced undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to more experienced researchers who need to remain up-to-date with the most recent advances. The book focuses on experimental investigations, illustrating milestone experiments and key experimental techniques, and discusses the results and the challenges of contemporary research. Emphasis is put on the investigations of precision physics: from the determination of fundamental constants of Nature to tests of General Relativity and Quantum Electrodynamics; from the realization of ultra-stable atomic clocks to the precise simulation of condensed matter theories with ultracold gases.
The book discusses these topics while tracing the evolution of experimental Atomic Physics from traditional laser spectroscopy to the revolution introduced by laser cooling, which allows the manipulation of atoms at a billionth of a degree above absolute zero and reveals new frontiers of precision in atomic spectroscopy.
Massimo Inguscio has worked as an Assistant Professor in Physics at Universities of Pisa and Lecce (1976-1980), Associated Professor at University of Pisa (1980-1986), and Full Professor in Physics at Universities of Napoli (1986-1990) and Firenze (since 1991). He has served as director of LENS (European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy) and of the Department for Materials and Devices of CNR (National Research Council). He has a long-standing experience of experimental research in atomic, molecular and optical physics, quantum optics, light-matter interaction, laser cooling, quantum simulation with ultracold quantum gases, and the development of spectroscopic instrumentation. For his research he has been awarded several prizes, including the Humboldt Research Award (2004), the "Enrico Fermi" Prize from Italian Physical Society (2004), and the Grand Prix Scientifique de l'Academie de Sciences de l'Institut de France (2005). Leonardo Fallani obtained his PhD in Physics from the University of Florence in 2005, and now works as an Assistant Professor in Physics at University of Florence (since 2007). He has long-standing experience of experimental research in atomic physics, high-precision spectroscopy, nonlinear optics, laser cooling, and quantum simulation with ultracold quantum gases. He is the author of more than 40 publications in international journals and books (with more than 1500 citations and h-index 17) and editor of 1 book.
1. Hydrogen ; 2. Alkali atoms and laser cooling ; 3. Bose-Einstein condensation ; 4. Helium ; 5. Alkaline-earth atoms and ions ; 6. Optical lattices and precise measurements ; 7. Optical lattices and quantum simulation ; Appendix A: Atom-light interaction ; Appendix B: Laser optics ; Appendix C: Bose-Einstein condensation ; Appendix D: Constants and units