For the first time, physicists of Kastler Brossel Laboratory have been able to use light to trap giant atoms, so-called circular Rydberg atoms. This work will push the limits of currently developed quantum technologies that use these atoms of remarkable properties.
Rydberg atoms have proved particularly useful in the development of current quantum technologies. These giant atoms, almost as large as bacteria, show remarkable properties. Their strong mutual interactions and their strong coupling to electromagnetic fields make them well suited to the realization of highly-sensitive field probes, quantum simulators or even quantum computers. Moreover, atoms excited to Rydberg levels live very long, few hundreds of microseconds versus few tens of nanoseconds only for weakly excited atoms. In this respect, circular Rydberg atoms, for which the valence electron follows a circular orbit around the nucleus, are exceptional. Their lifetimes reach several tens of milliseconds.
However, these experiments have been up to now limited by the fact that Rydberg atoms are not trapped. The experiment’s timescale is then limited to a few microseconds only by the motion of the atoms, atoms that for instance repel each other when they interact. The Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics team of LKB has been able for the first time to keep circular Rydberg atoms inside a light beam, in a work published in Physical Review Letters. Atoms are excited inside a light ring, or Laguerre-Gauss beam, from which they cannot escape. The LKB team has been able to trap the atoms over ten milliseconds and to observe the oscillations of the atoms in the light ring.
This work will allow scientists to push the limit of current Rydberg-based experiments, paving the way to greatly enhanced sensitivity of field probes or to quantum simulations of slow phenomena, such as quantum thermalization.
The study has been conducted with funding from the Quantum Flagship’s PASQuans project.
Caption: Circular Rydberg atoms are trapped in a hollow laser light tube (artistic view). Image credit: Clément SAYRIN/Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, ENS, SU, CNRS.
More News?All News
- Go to: Sensing Single Spins in Dense Spin BathsMay 12th, 2020
Sensing Single Spins in Dense Spin Baths
The detection of an external single nuclear spin in a noisy spin environment opens up new possibilities for future quantum technologies.
- Go to: CiViQ advances in optimizing the performance of quantum communicationsMay 10th, 2020
CiViQ advances in optimizing the performance of quantum communications
Two different studies published in Nature-affiliated journals by CiViQ’s consortium partner Stefano Pirandola, from University of York, and colleagues, prove further advancement in the field of quantum communications, by overcoming limitations that condition the fully integration of these systems into classical telecom networks.
- Go to: Measuring magnetism under very high-pressure conditionsMarch 31st, 2020
Measuring magnetism under very high-pressure conditions
A study recently published in Science reports on diamond anvil cells being able to highlight the novel magnetic and superconducting properties that certain materials acquire when compressing matter at pressures that can exceed one million atmospheres. A team of researchers have developed a novel method to detect such properties under these extreme conditions.