William Happer, Princeton University

Profile Photo of William Happer

Professor Emeritus Princeton, New Jersey happer@Princeton.EDU

Bio/Research

I am interested in the physics of spin-polarized atoms and nuclei, and in the application of these spin-polarized systems in other areas. Together with Professor Cates, research associates and graduate students at Princeton and collaborators from various medical schools, I have been working on wa...

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Bio/Research

I am interested in the physics of spin-polarized atoms and nuclei, and in the application of these spin-polarized systems in other areas. Together with Professor Cates, research associates and graduate students at Princeton and collaborators from various medical schools, I have been working on ways to use polarized 3He and 129Xe for magnetic resonance imaging of lungs and perhaps other organs.

In most of our work we use circularly polarized laser photons to pump angular momentum into electron spins, and we use hyperfine interactions to transfer angular momentum from the polarized electrons to the nuclei. In appropriate containers, the polarized nuclei can be stored for hours or even days with little loss of spin. Much of our present work is aimed at understanding the slow loss of spin which occurs in these containers. The physics of this process is not well understood, especially in the case of surface interactions.


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