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Continuous multi-step pumping of the optical clock transition in alkaline-earth atoms with minimal perturbation

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posted on 2023-01-12, 14:12 authored by Christoph Hotter, David Plankensteiner, Georgy Kazakov, Helmut Ritsch
A suitable scheme to continuously create inversion on an optical clock transition with negligible perturbation is a key missing ingredient required to build an active optical atomic clock. Re- pumping of the atoms on the narrow transition typically needs several pump lasers in a multi step process involving several auxiliary levels. In general this creates large effective level shifts and a line broadening, strongly limiting clock accuracy. Here we present an extensive theoretical study for a realistic multi-level implementation in search of parameter regimes where a sufficient inversion can be achieved with minimal perturbations. Fortunately we are able to identify a useful operating regime, where the frequency shifts remain small and controllable, only weakly perturbing the clock transition for useful pumping rates. For practical estimates of the corresponding clock performance we introduce a straightforward mapping of the multilevel pump scheme to an effective energy shift and broadening parameters for the reduced two-level laser model system. This allows to evaluate the resulting laser power and spectrum using well-known methods.

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