Blanc SIMI 4 - Blanc - SIMI 4 - Physique des milieux condensés et dilués

Correlated cold Rydberg matter – COCORYM

Submission summary

The cold Rydberg atoms are today recognized as a powerful tool for studying many physical situations, combining extreme and exaggerated properties of cold atoms and Rydberg atoms, respectively. Indeed, the electric dipole momenta of the Rydberg atoms can reach values several thousands times those of very polar molecules! Cold Rydberg excitation offers the possibility to entangle physical systems at large distances with many applications for quantum engineering and quantum simulation. The aim of the proposal COCORYM, for COrrelated COld RYdberg Matter, is to study the preparation, the evolution and the control of a cold Rydberg gas in configurations of very long-range interatomic dipole-dipole interactions, which can in a first approximation considered as a frozen gas, the properties of which can present similarities with an amorphous solid. Such atomic ensembles simulate mesoscopic situations at the crossings of condensed matter physics, plasma physics and chemistry, which will be investigated for characterizing properties of coherence of the matter. The proposal COCORYM will illustrate through five ambitious objectives, the different properties of coherence of Rydberg ensembles: (i) the characterization of a few-body in a cold Rydberg gas; (ii) the demonstration of superradiance for an ensemble of entangled pairs of Rydberg atoms; (iii) the Rydberg photoassociation for the formation of macrodimers, constituted by two bounded Rydberg atom; (iv) the quantum or classical diffusion of the Rydberg excitation; (v) the auto-organisation of laser cooled and trapped Rydberg atoms. The three first objectives will be tackled with the beginning of the proposal, using an available setup with Caesium atom. These results will constitute important steps in the understanding of the behavior of an ensemble of Rydberg atoms in strong long-range interaction. They will be real breakthroughs to open further developments of the entanglement of an ensemble of atoms, the control of cooperative emission or absorption, and an ultracold chemistry at mesoscopic distance. The two next objectives concern the properties of correlations and collective many-body effects; they necessitate the development of a new experimental setup, the tasks of which are planned during the first two years of the proposal. The prepared Rydberg ensembles correspond a priori to a disordered medium, but ordered or partially ordered situations can be prepared in one-, two- or three-dimensional space. The use of the dipole blockade of the Rydberg excitation is a way to prepare a correlated ensemble of excited atoms. The created correlations between the atoms are difficult to fully characterize. We need for that to develop a selective, temporally and spatially resolved detection for the Rydberg atoms. To go further, we need also to be able to laser-manipulate cold Rydberg atoms. A purpose of the proposal is to prepare an ensemble of strongly interacting and laser-controllable cold Rydberg Ytterbium atoms. The new Ytterbium setup is an important investment for the future of the cold Rydberg atom subject at the Laboratoire Aimé Cotton. The Ytterbium possesses two optically active electrons. Laser-cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation can be reached. Rydberg Ytterbium atoms can also be doubly-excited by using the second valence electron to perform a non-destructive imaging detection and to manipulate, cool or trap the Rydberg atoms, for controlling the cold Rydberg assembly. A complication of the experiment is the autoionization process of the doubly excited Rydberg atoms. To prevent the autoionization of the doubly excited atoms, an important task will be to initially prepare the Rydberg atoms in a high angular momentum state, which is non autoionizing and also possesses a long radiative lifetime.

Project coordination

Pierre PILLET (Laboratoire Aimé Cotton) –

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LAC Laboratoire Aimé Cotton

Help of the ANR 418,035 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2012 - 48 Months

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