Synopsis

Rydberg rings

Physics 3, s20
Highly excited atoms arranged in a circular lattice exhibit unusual many-particle states.
Illustration: B. Olmos et al., Phys. Rev. A (2010)

A wide variety of collective excitations and behaviors resulting from strong correlations can be studied with the use of ultracold atoms placed into optical lattice traps. In many cases, these experiments are carried out with the atoms in their ground states; however, atoms in highly excited states offer richer opportunities for controlling and studying such phenomena. Rydberg atoms, where the electrons are excited to very high quantum states and occupy spatially extended orbits, are particularly interesting in this regard. In an article in Physical Review A, Beatriz Olmos, Rosario González-Férez, and Igor Lesanovsky, from the University of Granada, Spain, and the University of Nottingham, UK, expand on earlier work [1] in which they theoretically studied Rydberg atoms in a ring lattice to examine many-particle entangled states.

The authors calculate the properties of a ring of bosonic atoms confined to a deep ring-shaped lattice with spacing much greater than the extent of the localized atomic wave function. These atoms are two-state entities where the excited state is a Rydberg level. A laser field is then used to couple the ground and excited states with a frequency slightly detuned from resonance. Olmos et al. find that this coupled system behaves like a chain of spinless fermions with dynamical properties like that of the xy model, and go on to explain how such states might be experimentally accessible. – David Voss

[1] B. Olmos, R. González-Férez, and I. Lesanovsky, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 185302 (2009).


Subject Areas

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Related Articles

Laser-Cooled Atoms and Molecules Collide in a Trap
Atomic and Molecular Physics

Laser-Cooled Atoms and Molecules Collide in a Trap

An experiment shows the circumstances under which ultracold atoms are quick to kick molecules out of a trap, providing clues for how to use atoms as a refrigerant for molecules. Read More »

Ion Microscopy Goes Quantum
Quantum Physics

Ion Microscopy Goes Quantum

Researchers have developed an ion-optics-based quantum microscope that has sufficient resolution to image individual atoms. Read More »

Femtosecond Probe Catches Electrons Relaxing
Atomic and Molecular Physics

Femtosecond Probe Catches Electrons Relaxing

Pump-probe experiments measure the time it takes for electrons to thermalize and cool after photoexcitation. Read More »

More Articles