An isotopically selective laser process and apparatus for removal of Pb-210 from natural lead that involves a one-photon near-resonant, two-photon resonant excitation of one or more Rydberg levels, followed by field ionization and then electrostatic extraction. The wavelength to the near-resonant intermediate state is counter propagated with respect to the second wavelength required to populate the final Rydberg state. This scheme takes advantage of the large first excited state cross section, and only modest laser fluences are required. The non-resonant process helps to avoid two problems: first, stimulated Raman Gain due to the nearby F=3/2 hyperfine component of Pb-207 and, second, direct absorption of the first transition process light by Pb-207.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The United States government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract Number W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California.