Hyperfine interaction with the 229Th nucleus and its low lying isomeric state

The thorium nucleus with mass number A=229 has attracted much interest because its extremely low lying first excited isomeric state at about 8eV opens the possibility for the development of a nuclear clock. However, neither the exact energy of this nuclear isomer nor properties, such as nuclear magnetic dipole and electric quadrupole moment are known to a high precision so far. The latter can be determined by investigating the hyperfine structure of thorium atoms or ions. Due to its electronic structure and the long lifetime of the nuclear isomeric state, Th2+ is especially suitable for such kind of studies. In this letter we present a combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the hyperfine structure of the 229Th2+ ion in the nuclear ground and isomeric state. A very good agreement between theory and experiment is found for the nuclear ground state. Moreover, we use our calculations to confirm the recently presented experimental value for the nuclear magnetic dipole moment of the thorium nuclear isomer, which was in contradiction to previous theoretical studies.