December 12, 2016
Direct detection of elusive thorium-229 isomer among "Physics World Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Year 2016"
The direct detection of the exotic isomeric state in thorium-229 at the LMU Munich, achieved in collaboration with our group, belongs to the IOP's "Physics World Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Year 2016" as identified according to their fundamental importance of research, significant advance in knowledge, strong connection between theory and experiment, and general interest to all physicists. The work lays a basis for next steps on the way to a potential future "nuclear clock" built upon the ground state transition of this isomeric state. Such a clock's precision might significantly surpass that of the best current timekeepers, the atomic clocks.
The work, led by PD Dr. Peter Thirolf and Dr. Lars von der Wense from LMU, is published in the May 05 issue of Nature (see also accompanying "News & Views" feature by M. Safronova). Further information is available from the LMU Munich group, the NuClock consortium, and media releases from GSI and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz that appeared when the paper was published.
September 29, 2016
Nobelium in the limelight – Atom-at-a-time laser spectroscopy at SHIP gives first insight in heavy element's atomic structure
The analysis of atomic spectra is of fundamental importance for our understanding of atomic structures. Until now, researchers were unable to examine heavy elements with corresponding optical spectroscopy because these elements do not occur in nature and cannot be artificially created in weighable amounts. However, an international team of scientists and engineers led by Dr. Mustapha Laatiaoui (SHE physics department at GSI and HIM) and Prof. Michael Block (GSI, HIM and JGU Mainz) together with collaborators from our own department as well as several other research groups have now looked for the first time into the inner structure of heavy elements.
Schematic of the experimental setup for the laser spectroscopic studies of No.
Figure: Mustapha Laatiaoui / GSI/HIM