Experimental Study of Potassium and Strontium Rydberg Atoms - Chaotic Ionization, Quantum Optical Phenomena and Multiphoton Excitation
Dunning, F. Barry
Doctor of Philosophy
Very-high-n (n~300) Rydberg atoms serve as a powerful tool to study chaos and quantum optical phenomena. Measurements using a series of alternating impulsive kicks applied to potassium Rydberg atoms reveal that a phase space geometric structure called the turnstile governs the ionization process. Studies of the excitation spectra for potassium Rydberg atoms in a strong sinusoidal electric drive field in the radio frequency (100-300 MHz) regime, display quantum optical phenomena including electromagnetically induced transparency and Aulter-Townes splitting, and the data are well explained within the framework of Floquet theory. In order to study the strong dipole-dipole interactions between neutral atoms, new experimental techniques have been developed to create high densities of very-high-n (n~300-500) strontium Rydberg atoms using two- and three-photon excitation. The data demonstrate that high densities of strongly-polarized quasi-one-dimensional states can be produced and form the basis for further manipulation of the atomic wave functions. The strontium Rydberg states are modeled using a two-active-electron theory which produces results in good agreement with experimental observations.