Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Charles Sukenik

Committee Member

David Burdige

Committee Member

Alexander Godunov

Committee Member

Charles Hyde

Committee Member

Lepsha Vuskovic


In this presentation, we discuss results from two separate bodies of work. In the first, we investigate all-optical excitation methods to produce metastable-state krypton. The high energies required to excite rare gases out of their ground state present a unique challenge in the context of laser experiments. Laser physics work with rare gases often relies on excitation within an RF discharge. All-optical excitation is a promising replacement for RF discharges, avoids problems caused by ion production and may eventually allow for higher efficiencies. We examine three separate methods of all-optical metastable-state production: using an ArF excimer laser, using the third harmonic of the Jefferson Lab free-electron laser (FEL), and using a commercially available UV lamp.

In the second body of work, we perform photoassociation spectroscopy in an ultracold, heteronuclear Rb + Ar* system. Photoassociation is a method that may be used to both 1) produce ultracold molecules, and 2) perform high-resolution spectroscopy on excited molecular states. Most work within the field has been performed within all alkali-metal systems. We examine a unique noble gas–alkali system within a dual species magneto-optical trap. We have performed a comprehensive search for evidence of excitation to molecular levels of RbAr. We illuminate atom pairs with a photoassociation laser in a spectral region detuned a few GHz below an atomic asymptote of argon, analogous to previous work in the homo-nuclear argon or krypton systems. We discuss our methodology and findings. We conclude with a discussion of how our results may be applied to future spectroscopic searches


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