This research aims to engineer atomic systems with special features that are favorable for testing theory, and for measuring fundamental constants and atomic data. In many cases, progress is impeded, not by the limitations in measurement techniques, but by inherent difficulties in understanding or controlling the systems available to us. We are particularly interested in synthesizing cold hydrogen-like ions in a trap, from scratch, by attachment of an electron onto a fully-stripped (bare) nucleus to occupy high angular momentum states with transition frequencies that are accessible to a femtosecond laser frequency comb. New calculations at NIST have shown that the theory for one-electron ions in high angular momentum states can reach a level of accuracy comparable to the precision of optical frequency combs. One objective is to realize systems that are potentially useful for improving the determination of the fine structure and the Rydberg constants, which play crucial roles in the International System of units (SI), in the CODATA evaluation of fundamental constants, and in more stringent tests of quantum electrodynamics (QED). Experimental efforts include the development of novel ion trap architectures for isolating bare nuclei, and techniques which favor the production of circular states. We are also interested in engineering atomic systems relevant to astrophysics, fusion energy research, and industrial applications. Available resources include the electron beam ion trap (EBIT) at NIST for the production of highly-stripped ions and bare nuclei. Research is conducted in conjunction with theoretical work at NIST.
Hydrogen-like ions; Rydberg states; Cooling and trapping; Comb-based measurements; Tests of basic theory; Fundamental constants; Laser spectroscopy and atomic data;