Rydberg blockade in a hot atomic beam
The dipole blockade of very-high-n, n∼300, strontium 5snf1F3 Rydberg atoms in a hot atomic beam is studied. For such high n, the blockade radius can exceed the linear dimensions of the excitation volume. Rydberg atoms formed inside the excitation volume can, upon leaving the region, continue to suppress excitation until they have moved farther away than the blockade radius. Moreover, the high density of states originating from the many magnetic sublevels associated with the F states results in a small but finite probability of excitation of L=3n1F3 atom pairs at small internuclear separations below the blockade radius. We demonstrate that these effects can be distinguished from one another by the distinct features they imprint on the Mandel Q parameter as a function of the duration of the exciting laser.