Siegel der Universität

Universität zu Köln
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Fachgruppe Physik

I. Physikalisches Institut

Practical Course M: Optical Pumping

Printer-friendly versionPDF version


The process of “optical pumping” was developed by A. Kastler, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this in 1966. This technique allows the spectroscopy of atomic energy states in a region which is not accessible by means of direct, optical observation. An example for optical pumping is the selective repopulation of Zeeman hyperfine-levels of rubidium atoms using circular polarized light with appropriate frequency. The gas of rubidium atoms is then irradiated using a periodic magnetic field tuned to the frequency of the hyperfein-levels. Transitions between the Zeeman-levels are detected by a change in the optical absorption of the sample.


The tutorial may be downloaded here in PDF format or alternatively be obtained personally from the assistant.


Dr. Sven Thorwirth – Room 306b – Tel. 0221-470-1936
Email: sthorwirth (at) ph1 (dot) uni-koeln (dot) de

Recommended reading