Cold Rydberg Atom Interactions

James Martin,
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Transitions between Rydberg states can be driven using microwave sources, which offer stability, linewidth and modulation capabilities unrivaled by lasers. The linewidths of microwave-driven transitions can be used as a direct, sensitive probe of interactions between cold Rydberg atoms. For example, we have used this technique to demonstrate that resonant electric dipole-dipole interactions between cold Rydberg atoms are partially suppressed by DC magnetic fields.

We have recently initiated a program to study the interaction of Rydberg atoms with metal surfaces, using laser cooling and the newly developed technology of magnetic microtraps (atom chips). I will discuss our current progress, and what we hope to learn from these studies.

Work performed in collaboration with K. Afrousheh, P. Bohlouli-Z., J. Carter, O. Cherry and A. Mugford, and supported by NSERC (Canada).