Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Wolfgang Korsch


This work is comprised of the study of two magneto-optical phenomena: the Kerr effect and the Faraday effect. Neutron physics experiments often utilize polarized neutrons, and one method to generate or guide polarized neutrons involves the use of a system of magnetic super-mirrors. Experience shows that the magnetization of the super-mirror may decay with time; therefore, we implemented the surface magneto-optical Kerr effect (SMOKE) to study the temporal behavior of the magnetization of a magnetized remnant super-mirror sample, where a sensitivity of 0.1 mrad was obtained. Unique to our set-up was the method in which the various magnetization directions were probed. The sample was magnetized prior to insertion into the set-up, and a high precision rotational stage was used to manually rotate the sample to effectively generate a reversal of the magnetic field. Multiple samples from a larger super-mirror specimen were tested, in which no change in the magnetization was detected for one month after sample magnetization. Further studies could increase the sensitivity of the experiment, potentially rendering the method as an application for real-time magnetization monitoring.

Polarized 3He nuclei are often used as an effective polarized neutron target at various laboratories, including Jefferson Lab, through the use of spin-exchange optical pumping in a glass cell constructed of GE-180. Utilizing the nuclear spin optical rotation to measure the Faraday effect of polarized 3He would develop a new procedure for polarization monitoring, establish a powerful tool to diagnose the wall properties and thicknesses of the cells used, and the determination of the frequency independent magnetic component of the polarizability would ultimately lead to the extraction of the spin polarizability of 3He. Furthermore, this study has the future implications of being the pioneer experiment for terrestrial dark matter studies. A new triple modulation technique was devised, where a sensitivity of 60 nrad was obtained, and the first ever extraction of the Verdet constant of GE-180 was recorded, an important factor in wall thicknesses and diagnostic investigations for Jefferson Lab. However, a measurement of the nuclear spin optical rotation of a polarized 3He target was not realized, as the measured polarization suggests a Faraday rotation just below the 60 nrad threshold. Nevertheless, the devised triple modulation method proves to be a very sensitive probe in Faraday effect studies, and additional examination of the polarized target for the production of a larger polarization, should yield a measurement of the nuclear spin optical rotation of polarized 3He.