Laser-induced electronic bridge for characterization of the 229mTh→ 229gTh nuclear transition with a tunable optical laser

An alternative method to determine the excitation energy of the 229mTh isomer via the laser-induced electronic bridge is investigated theoretically. In the presence of an optical or ultra-violet laser at energies that fulfill a two-photon resonance condition, the excited nuclear state can decay by transfering its energy to the electronic shell. A bound electron is then promoted to an excited state by absorption of a laser photon and simultaneous de-excitation of the nucleus. We present calculated rates for the laser-induced electronic bridge process and discuss the experimental requirements for the corresponding setup. Our results show that depending on the actual value of the nuclear transition energy, the rate can be very high, with an enhancement factor compared to the radiative nuclear decay of up to 10^8.