Atom trap trace analysis or the search for a needle in ten thousand haystacks

 Prof.dr. R. Hoekstra, KVI - Atomic Physics, Groningen, the Netherlands

Determination of isotopic fractions is an important diagnostics in many research areas of which climatology, archeological dating and biomedical applications are well known examples. In this colloquium I will present our work on the development of a new method for ultrasensitive trace analysis which is based on modern optical techniques of atom cooling and trapping. In Groningen we want to show the potential of this so-called atom trap trace analysis (ATTA) method by separating and detecting calcium isotopes, with the ultimate goal of detecting the very rare 41Ca isotope, which occurs in nature with an abundance of 10-14 or less. Calcium enriched in 41Ca (10-9 level) could be an important future tracer for osteoporosis studies on a bio-molecular level.