Abstract

A highly sensitive method of detecting atoms in samples has been used for spectral investigations of the rare radioactive element Fr. The method is based on laser-resonance photoionization of Fr atoms in a hot quasi-enclosed cavity. The investigations have been carried out with samples in which short-lived radioactive 221Fr atoms formed at a rate of approximately 103 atoms/sec. The data obtained, to our knowledge for the first time, on the energies of the high-lying Rydberg levels of the 2S1/2 and 2D series have made it possible to determine the electron binding energy of the 7p2P3/2 state and to establish the ionization potential of Fr accurately.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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