The use of lasers for nuclear physics research is widespread and growing rapidly. The major impact in nuclear structure research has come from nuclear size and shape determinations for nuclei far from stability via high resolution isotope shift measurements. In addition, systematic data on nuclear magnetic and quadrupole moments have been obtained via the hyperfine splitting resolved in laser fluorescence studies of atomic spectra in both stable and unstable systems. The tunability, high intensity and inherent polarization of laser light can be used to polarize atomic nuclei for nuclear reaction studies. The rapid efficient polarization of unstable nuclei with lasers also presents opportunities for new research in nuclear physics. In this paper the physics of the laser interaction for the studies indicated will be introduced. Some examples of work completed and in progress will be presented primarily from on-line laser studies at charged particle accelerators. Extensions of current research, particularly with respect to possible studies of short-lived nuclei, are discussed and the synergistic effects of certain advances in quantum electronics and nuclear physics described.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry