Accurate Prediction of Clock Transitions in a Highly Charged Ion with Complex Electronic Structure

C. Cheung, M. S. Safronova, S. G. Porsev, M. G. Kozlov, I. I. Tupitsyn, A. I. Bondarev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We develop a broadly applicable approach that drastically increases the ability to predict the properties of complex atoms accurately. We apply it to the case of Ir17+, which is of particular interest for the development of novel atomic clocks with a high sensitivity to the variation of the fine-structure constant and to dark matter searches. In general, clock transitions are weak and very difficult to identify without accurate theoretical predictions. In the case of Ir17+, even stronger electric-dipole (E1) transitions have eluded observation despite years of effort, raising the possibility that the theoretical predictions are grossly wrong. In this work, we provide accurate predictions of the transition wavelengths and E1 transition rates for Ir17+. Our results explain the lack of observations of the E1 transitions and provide a pathway toward the detection of clock transitions. The computational advances we demonstrate in this work are widely applicable to most elements in the periodic table and will allow us to solve numerous problems in atomic physics, astrophysics, and plasma physics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163001
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - 24 Apr 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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