We present a technique for measuring the radiative lifetimes of metastable states of negative ions that involves the use of a heavy-ion storage ring. The method has been applied to investigate the radiative decay of the np3 2P1/2 levels of Te–(n=5) and Se–(n=4) and the 3p3 2D state of Si– for which the J=3/2 and 5/2 levels were unresolved. All of these states are metastable and decay primarily by emission of E2 and M1 radiation. Multi Configuration Dirac-Hartree-Fock calculations of rates for the transitions in Te– and Se– yielded lifetimes of 0.45 s and 4.7 s, respectively. The measured values agree well with these predicted values. In the case of the 2D state of Si–, however, our measurement was only able to set a lower limit on the lifetime. The upper limit of the lifetime that can be measured with our apparatus is set by how long the ions can be stored in the ring, a limit determined by the rate of collisional detachment. Our lower limit of 1 min for the lifetime of the 2D state is consistent with both the calculated lifetimes of 162 s for the 2D3/2 level and 27.3 h for the 2D5/2 level reported by O'Malley and Beck and 14.5 h and 12.5 h, respectively, from our Breit-Pauli calculations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Physics and Astronomy(all)