Cold Rydberg Gases: creating a cold Rydberg gas Prev   Top   Next

Creation of a cold Rydberg gas

We create a cold Rydberg gas by exciting rubidium atoms in a UHV magneto-optical trap (MOT). This MOT is contained within a cryostat which allows us to control the background radiation temperature which strongly effects the lifetimes of the Rydberg atoms.

photo of our experimental set-up. current as of 9/2003.

 It  is loaded by a cold, slow beam of atoms from a low-velocity intense source (LVIS).


The Rb atoms are seen as a bright "donut". The hole is created by a hole in our retro-optic, through which atoms are pushed out into the secondary MOT.


        Low Velocity Intense Source (LVIS)

In the MOT, atoms cycle between the 5S1/2 (ground state) and the 5P3/2 state. To create Rydberg atoms we excite atoms from the 5P3/2 state into nd-, or ns- Rydberg states using a 10ns blue pulse. Since the atoms are initially cooled and trapped, they remain cool after the Rydberg excitation  though they are no longer trapped.
Rydberg excitation scheme.

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