Coherent Control of Processes that Break the Dipole Blockade
Abstract: The Rydberg excitation blockade has enabled impressive achievements in quantum information and simulation. However, unwanted processes may compromise the single-excitation behavior of the blockade and reduce its efficiency. We study one such process, state-mixing interactions. When ultracold atoms are excited to Rydberg states near Förster resonance, up to ∼ 50% of the detected atoms can be found in dipole-coupled product states within tens of ns of excitation. There has been disagreement in the literature regarding the mechanism by which this mixing occurs.
We use state-selective field ionization spectroscopy with single-event resolution to probe state mixing near the 43D5/2 Förster resonance in Rb. Our method allows us to control the mechanism by which state-mixing interactions occur during Rydberg excitation. Additionally, we use a rotary echo technique to demonstrate the coherence of the evolution of mixed three-particle states during our Rydberg excitation pulses. The ability to coherently control state-mixing events will allow experimenters to avoid this unwanted process when implementing quantum devices using neutral atoms.
Bio: Aaron Reinhard is an experimental atomic physicist studying ultracold Rydberg atoms. His current work focuses on the Rydberg excitation blockade, a key ingredient in neutral atom quantum gates and quantum simulators. With his team of undergraduate student collaborators, he seeks to understand processes that make the single-excitation behavior of the blockade break down. Aaron also does physics education research. He is especially interested in the role of metacognition in promoting expert-like problem-solving behaviors.
Aaron earned a B.S. in physics and a B.S.E.E in electrical engineering from Valparaiso University in 2003, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan in 2008. He did a postdoc at Penn State University and has held appointments at Otterbein University and Kenyon College, where he has been an associate professor since 2017.
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