Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1998 Joan Hoffmann. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics & Astronomy Department

First Advisor

Frank Moscatelli

Second Advisor

Thomas D. Donnelly


We attempt to parameterize the density and temperature of a laser-ablated lithium plasma in terms of ablating energy and time. Using a Mach-Zender interferometer, we extract the densities and temperatures of electrons and of neutral lithium atoms from the fringe shift function and absorption of the probe laser beam. There are some unresolved issues in the interpretation of the data, but we seem to see densities on order of 10¹⁷ - 10¹⁸ cm⁻³ for both electrons and neutral lithium in the plasma with approximately two-thirds ionization. We observed no absorption of the probe beam indicating a low population of cold electrons.