|Dr. Jeffrey Guest (University of Michigan)|
Cold Rydberg atoms - new venues in quantum information, atom trapping, and plasma physics
Abstract: QuISS Seminar, Wednesday, February 5th, Noon, 280 MRL Dr. Guest will be available to meet with faculty all day on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 4th and 5th. Please contact me to set up times to meet with him ASAP. Thank you. The recent convergence of laser-cooling and trapping techniques with traditional Rydberg atom spectroscopy has opened up a new and wide-open frontier with implications in quantum information processing, cold-plasma physics, high-resolution spectroscopy, and the study of novel atomic systems. Utilizing cryogenic atom traps, we have made several forays into these areas. Laser-cooled neutral atoms, with temporary excitation to Rydberg states, have been proposed as a platform for quantum computing. I will discuss our efforts to realize a microscopic 'dipole blockade' in a cold Rydberg atom gas. This (coherent) mechanism may become an important tool in the machinery of neutral-atom quantum information processing and mesoscopic entanglement.
I will further discuss the (incoherent) dynamics that occurs due to various types of collisions in cold Rydberg gases and plasmas. We observe electron trapping, l-mixing and n-mixing collisions, and full-scale ionization. I will describe a superconducting atom trap that we have built in order to extend cold-plasma research into the domain of very high magnetic fields. I will explain the physics of exotic, highly magnetized Rydberg states, which - as we believe - will play an important role in strongly magnetized cold plasmas. Finally, I will provide an update on experiments that aim to trap Rydberg atoms in conservative magnetostatic, electrostatic, and ponderomotive potentials. Trapped Rydberg atoms are expected to become a powerful tool in high-precision spectroscopy and fundamental measurements.