Testing sub-gravitational forces on atoms from a miniature, in-vacuum source mass [CL]


Gravity is the weakest fundamental interaction and the only one that has not been measured at the particle level. Traditional experimental methods, from astronomical observations to torsion balances, use macroscopic masses to both source and probe gravitational fields. Matter wave interferometers have used neutrons, atoms and molecular clusters as microscopic test particles, but initially probed the field sourced by the entire earth. Later, the gravitational field arising from hundreds of kilograms of artificial source masses was measured with atom interferometry. Miniaturizing the source mass and moving it into the vacuum chamber could improve positioning accuracy, allow the use of monocrystalline source masses for improved gravitational measurements, and test new physics, such as beyond-standard-model (“fifth”) forces of nature and non-classical effects of gravity. In this work, we detect the gravitational force between freely falling cesium atoms and an in-vacuum, centimeter-sized source mass using atom interferometry with state-of-the-art sensitivity. The ability to sense gravitational-strength coupling is conjectured to access a natural lower bound for fundamental forces, thereby representing an important milestone in searches for physics beyond the standard model. A local, in-vacuum source mass is particularly sensitive to a wide class of interactions whose effects would otherwise be suppressed beyond detectability in regions of high matter density. For example, our measurement strengthens limits on a number of cosmologically-motivated scalar field models, such as chameleon and symmetron fields, by over two orders of magnitude and paves the way toward novel measurements of Newton’s gravitational constant G and the gravitational Aharonov-Bohm effect

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M. Jaffe, P. Haslinger, V. Xu, et. al.
Fri, 16 Dec 16

Comments: N/A

Stellar laboratories. VIII. New Zr IV – VII, Xe IV – V, and Xe VII oscillator strengths and the Al, Zr, and Xe abundances in the hot white dwarfs G191-B2B and RE0503-289 [CL]


For the spectral analysis of high-resolution and high-signal-to-noise spectra of hot stars, state-of-the-art non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) model atmospheres are mandatory. These are strongly dependent on the reliability of the atomic data that is used for their calculation.
To search for Zr and Xe lines in the ultraviolet (UV) spectra of G191-B2B and RE0503-289, new Zr IV-VII, Xe IV-V, and Xe VIII oscillator strengths were calculated. This allows for the first time, determination of the Zr abundance in white dwarf (WD) stars and improvement of the Xe abundance determinations.
We calculated Zr IV-VII, Xe IV-V, and Xe VIII oscillator strengths to consider radiative and collisional bound-bound transitions of Zr and Xe in our NLTE stellar-atmosphere models for the analysis of their lines exhibited in UV observations of the hot WDs G191-B2B and RE0503-289.
We identified one new Zr IV, 14 new Zr V, and ten new Zr VI lines in the spectrum of RE0503-289. Zr was detected for the first time in a WD. We measured a Zr abundance of -3.5 +/- 0.2 (logarithmic mass fraction, approx. 11 500 times solar). We dentified five new Xe VI lines and determined a Xe abundance of -3.9 +/- 0.2 (approx. 7500 times solar). We determined a preliminary photospheric Al abundance of -4.3 +/- 0.2 (solar) in RE0503-289. In the spectra of G191-B2B, no Zr line was identified. The strongest Zr IV line (1598.948 A) in our model gave an upper limit of -5.6 +/- 0.3 which is about 100 times solar. No Xe line was identified in the UV spectrum of G191-B2B and we confirmed the previously determined upper limit of -6.8 +/- 0.3 (ten times solar).
Precise measurements and calculations of atomic data are a prerequisite for advanced NLTE stellar-atmosphere modeling. Observed Zr IV – VI and Xe VI – VII line profiles in the UV spectrum of RE0503-289 were simultaneously well reproduced.

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T. Rauch, S. Gamrath, P. Quinet, et. al.
Wed, 23 Nov 16

Comments: 137 pages, 11 figures

Non-Elastic Processes in Atom Rydberg-Atom Collisions: Review of State of Art and Problems [CL]


In our previous research, it has been demonstrated that such inelastic processes in atom Rydberg-atom collisions, as chemi-ionization and (n-n’) mixing, should be considered together. Here we will review the present state of the art and the actual problems will be discussed. In this context, we will consider the influence of the (n-n’)-mixing during a symmetric atom Rydberg-atom collision processes on the intensity of chemi-ionization process. It will be taken into account H(1s) + H*(n) collisional systems, where the principal quantum number n $>>$ 1. It will be demonstrated that the inclusion of (n-n’) mixing in the calculation, influences significantly on the values of chemi-ionization rate coefficients, particularly in the lower part of the block of the Rydberg states. Different possible channels of the (n-n’)-mixing influence on chemi-ionization rate coefficients will be demonstrated. The possibility of interpretation of the (n-n’)-mixing influence will be considered on the basis of two existing methods for describing of the inelastic processes in symmetrical atom Rydberg-atom collisions.

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A. Mihajlov, V. Sreckovic, L. Ignjatovic, et. al.
Tue, 22 Nov 16

Comments: 7 pages, 2 figures

Energy levels, radiative rates and electron impact excitation rates for transitions in Si III [CL]


Energy levels and radiative rates (A-values) for four types of transitions (E1, E2, M1, and M2) are reported for an astrophysically important Mg-like ion Si~III, whose emission lines have been observed in a variety of plasmas. For the calculations, well-known and widely-used GRASP code has been adopted, and results are listed for transitions among the 141 levels of the 3$\ell3\ell’$ and 3$\ell$4$\ell$ configurations. Experimental energies are available for only the lowest 58 levels but there is no major discrepancy with theoretical results. Similarly, the A-values and lifetimes show a satisfactory agreement with other available results, particularly for strong E1 transitions. Collision strengths are also calculated, with the DARC code, and listed for resonance transitions over a wide energy range, up to 30~Ryd. No similar results are available in the literature for comparisons. However, comparisons are made with the more important parameter, effective collision strength ($\Upsilon$), for which recent $R$-matrix results are available for a wide range of transitions, and over a large range of temperatures. To determine $\Upsilon$, resonances have been resolved in a narrow energy mesh, although these are not observed to be as important as for other ions. Unfortunately, large discrepancies in $\Upsilon$ values are noted for about half the transitions. The differences increase with increasing temperature and worsen as the upper level J increases. In most cases the earlier results are overestimated, by up to (almost) two orders of magnitude, and this conclusion is consistent with the one observed earlier for Be-like ions.

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K. Aggarwal
Wed, 16 Nov 16

Comments: 17 pages of text including 6 figures and 4 Tables will be published in ADNDT (2017)

Hot DA white dwarf model atmosphere calculations: Including improved Ni PI cross sections [SSA]


To calculate realistic models of objects with Ni in their atmospheres, accurate atomic data for the relevant ionization stages needs to be included in model atmosphere calculations. In the context of white dwarf stars, we investigate the effect of changing the Ni {\sc iv}-{\sc vi} bound-bound and bound-free atomic data has on model atmosphere calculations. Models including PICS calculated with {\sc autostructure} show significant flux attenuation of up to $\sim 80$\% shortward of 180\AA\, in the EUV region compared to a model using hydrogenic PICS. Comparatively, models including a larger set of Ni transitions left the EUV, UV, and optical continua unaffected. We use models calculated with permutations of this atomic data to test for potential changes to measured metal abundances of the hot DA white dwarf G191-B2B. Models including {\sc autostructure} PICS were found to change the abundances of N and O by as much as $\sim 22$\% compared to models using hydrogenic PICS, but heavier species were relatively unaffected. Models including {\sc autostructure} PICS caused the abundances of N/O {\sc iv} and {\sc v} to diverge. This is because the increased opacity in the {\sc autostructure} PICS model causes these charge states to form higher in the atmosphere, moreso for N/O {\sc v}. Models using an extended line list caused significant changes to the Ni {\sc iv}-{\sc v} abundances. While both PICS and an extended line list cause changes in both synthetic spectra and measured abundances, the biggest changes are caused by using {\sc autostructure} PICS for Ni.

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S. Preval, M. Barstow, N. Badnell, et. al.
Tue, 1 Nov 16

Comments: 14 pages, 9 figures, 7 tables. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

Infrared Opacities in Dense Atmospheres of Cool White Dwarf Stars [SSA]


Dense, He-rich atmospheres of cool white dwarfs represent a challenge to the modeling. This is because these atmospheres are constituted of a dense fluid in which strong multi-atomic interactions determine their physics and chemistry. Therefore, the ideal-gas-based description of absorption is no longer adequate, which makes the opacities of these atmospheres difficult to model. This is illustrated with severe problems in fitting the spectra of cool, He-rich stars. Good description of the infrared (IR) opacity is essential for proper assignment of the atmospheric parameters of these stars. Using methods of computational quantum chemistry we simulate the IR absorption of dense He/H media. We found a significant IR absorption from He atoms (He-He-He CIA opacity) and a strong pressure distortion of the H$_2$-He collision-induced absorption (CIA). We discuss the implication of these results for interpretation of the spectra of cool stars.

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P. Kowalski, S. Blouin and P. Dufour
Tue, 25 Oct 16

Comments: 6 pages, 5 figures, Proceedings of the EUROWD2016 workshop. To be published in ASPCS

Laser remote magnetometry using mesospheric sodium [IMA]


We have demonstrated a remote magnetometer based on sodium atoms in the Earth’s mesosphere, at a 106-kilometer distance from our instrument. A 1.33-watt laser illuminated the atoms, and the magnetic field was inferred from back-scattered light collected by a telescope with a 1.55-meter-diameter aperture. The measurement sensitivity was 162 nT/$\sqrt{Hz}$. The value of magnetic field inferred from our measurement is consistent with an estimate based on the Earth’s known field shape to within a fraction of a percent. Projected improvements in optics could lead to sensitivity of 20 nT/$\sqrt{Hz}$, and the use of advanced lasers or a large telescope could approach 1-nT/$\sqrt{Hz}$ sensitivity. All experimental and theoretical sensitivity values are based on a 60{\deg} angle between the laser beam axis and the magnetic field vector; at the optimal 90{\deg} angle sensitivity would be improved by about a factor of two.

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T. Kane, P. Hillman, C. Denman, et. al.
Wed, 19 Oct 16

Comments: 15 pages, 15 figures, 4 tables