Mentor: Dr. Michael Noel
This summer I will be working with Michael Noel and Thomas Carroll continuing the study of Rubidium (Rb) atoms excited to the Rydberg state. We will be using a Magneto-Optical Trap (MOT) to confine Rb atoms in a vacuum chamber. This confinement is achieved by scattering photons off of the atoms, which slows them down, and by using a magnetic field as a restoring force. The atoms in the cold vapor are excited to a Rydberg state through the use of a pulsed dye laser. This setup allows us to observe the dipole-dipole interactions of the ultracold Rb atoms. Focusing the dye laser beam narrowly creates a small volume which is nearly one dimensional. In this setup each atom is only able to interact with 2 others (the one in front of it and the in back of it), which suppresses Many-Body interactions. However in a larger and less focused volume Many-Body interactions are more prevalent since each atom is able to interact with various other atoms around it.
In Noel and Carroll’s previous work they have varied the volumes and densities in the experiment. The continuation which I will be a part of is to look at the time dependence of Many-Body interactions (while still working with the volume and density). We expect to find that the total interaction happens more quickly when Many-Body interactions are present.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0134676.