We have optically detected hydrogen atoms adsorbed on the surface of liquid helium, a system relevant for the study of Bose degeneracy in two dimensions. The atoms are excited by 121.6 nm light and detected both in fluorescence and in absorption. The excitation spectrum shows a resonance that is much broader than that of a free atom, and shifted to lower frequencies. From the absorption signal we determine that we have reached a surface density corresponding to one atom per square de Broglie wavelength. We also use the hydrogen fluorescence to probe the thermal resistance between the free surface and the bulk of the liquid helium.

Phys. Rev. Lett.

Mosk, A.P, Reynolds, M.W, Hijmans, T.W, & Walraven, J.T.M. (1998). Optical excitation of atomic hydrogen bound to the surface of liquid helium. Phys.Rev.Lett., 81, 4440–4443.