In “Ultracold Rydberg-Atom Interactions,” Dr. Aaron Reinhard, a professor from Kenyon College, discusses the properties and applications of interacting Rydberg atoms. The seminar begins at 3:30pm in Olin 114 on Friday, February 8.
Abstract: Atoms that are cooled to very low temperatures and excited to high-energy electronic states interact strongly with one another. These interactions suppress, or “block,” laser excitation, giving rise to a phenomenon called the “Rydberg excitation blockade.” The blockade leads to a rich array of interesting effects, and is an essential part of schemes to implement quantum protocols using neutral atoms. I will begin my talk by reviewing the field of neutral-atom laser cooling and trapping. I will then discuss the properties of interacting Rydberg atoms, with an emphasis on the excitation blockade. Finally, I will describe work in progress on state-mixing interactions, an effect which “breaks” the blockade. We hope that a better understanding of state-mixing will facilitate future progress in neutral atom quantum information.