Creation of Rydberg Polarons in a Bose Gas
Woehl, G. Jr.
We report spectroscopic observation of Rydberg polarons in an atomic Bose gas. Polarons are created by excitation of Rydberg atoms as impurities in a strontium Bose-Einstein condensate. They are distinguished from previously studied polarons by macroscopic occupation of bound molecular states that arise from scattering of the weakly bound Rydberg electron from ground-state atoms. The absence of a p-wave resonance in the low-energy electron-atom scattering in Sr introduces a universal behavior in the Rydberg spectral line shape and in scaling of the spectral width (narrowing) with the Rydberg principal quantum number, n. Spectral features are described with a functional determinant approach (FDA) that solves an extended Fröhlich Hamiltonian for a mobile impurity in a Bose gas. Excited states of polyatomic Rydberg molecules (trimers, tetrameters, and pentamers) are experimentally resolved and accurately reproduced with a FDA.