Nuclear-atomic overlap for the isotope thorium-229

More than 99.9% of the mass of any atom is concentrated into a quadrillionth of its volume, the part occupied by the nucleus. Unimaginably small, dense and energetic, atomic nuclei are governed by laws quite distinct from those that regulate atomic electrons, which constitute the outer part of atoms and which are immediately responsible for light, chemistry and thus life. Yet there are sporadic regions of contact between these disparate realms. JQI Adjunct Fellow Marianna Safronova and her collaborators (1) have been exploring one area of nuclear-atomic overlap for the isotope thorium-229. This isotope is a candidate for a new type of atomic clock and quantum information processor.

from Physics News

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