- Experiments with Rydberg atoms on a current-carrying atom chip
- Award date
- 28 March 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI)
On one side, atom-chip experiments have demonstrated to be a versatile tool to study quantum physics in cold atoms systems. On the other side, Rydberg atoms have exaggerated properties that makes them good candidates to study quantum information and quantum simulations protocols. In this thesis both system are put together with the aim to study Rydberg physics (in particular atom-atom interaction) in an atom-chip experiment.
Due to the exaggerated properties of Rydberg atoms they are very sensitive to electric fields. Thus, the combination of Rydberg atoms with surfaces can be challenging. Therefore a detailed characterization of the mentioned stray electric fields via the analysis of Stark-Zeeman maps is crucial. We employ two-photon Rydberg Stark spectroscopy of a micron-sized cloud of magnetically trapped ultracold rubidium atoms to characterize the electric fields near our atom-chip.
Once we characterized the local electric fields we were able to study in more detail the effect of Rydberg excitation in the ultracold cloud of atoms. For instance we observed the formation of ultralong-range Rydberg molecules in our system. In these molecules a ground state atom is weakly bound to the Rydberg electron. We also attempted to observe the effect of Rydberg blockade in the system by looking at the characteristics of Rydberg spectra. Finally we studied the possibility of inducing rf transitions within a Rydberg state manifold in order to enhance our detection method and populate states that are not accessible directly with a two-photon laser transition.
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