The kicked Rydberg atom: Non-linear dynamics and manipulation of atomic wavefunctions
Tannian, Bridget Ellen
Dunning, F. B.
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
The response of rubidium Rydberg atoms with principal quantum number n = 390 to one or more half-cycle electric field pulses (HCPs) with durations Tp much less than the classical electron orbital period Tn is investigated. High-n atoms subject to a series of HCPs provide a new paradigm, the "kicked atom" for the study of non-linear dynamics in Hamiltonian systems. For certain kick frequencies, dynamical stabilization is observed which corresponds to localization in phase space of the electronic state. The evolution of this localized state is probed with HCPs. A short HCP is used to examine the momentum distribution and a new technique for measuring the spatial distribution of the electron that uses a longer-duration fast-rising is demonstrated. Similar pulses also form the basis of a new approach to the manipulation of atomic ℓ-state distributions. The experimental data are compared with the results of classical trajectory Monte Carlo simulations. In all cases good agreement between theory and experiment is observed demonstrating that quantum/classical correspondence holds at high-n.