Paul Lett, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., Kevin Jones, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., and Paul Julienne, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.
Although molecular properties are clearly related to the properties of the constituent atoms, it has seldom been possible to make precision measurements of these atomic properties by examining the molecules. Over the last year or so, however, molecular spectroscopy has been shown to be a powerful technique for determining atomic lifetimes and has provided the most precise alkali lifetimes yet reported, at levels ranging from 0.3% to 0.03%.
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