Two-body interactions and decay of three-level Rydberg-dressed atoms published in Journal of Physics B January 2016

Strong and long-range interactions are a core feature of the constituents of many materials and define their characteristic properties. To bestow upon the atoms in an ultracold quantum gas similar interactions and to even shape these is a central ongoing challenge in modern atomic physics. One possible approach is Rydberg dressing, where coherent laser light is used to couple the long-range interactions of a Rydberg state to the long-lived atomic ground state. In this paper we theoretically study this scheme for laser coupling via an intermediate state, while so far studies have been restricted to excitation schemes where spontaneous emission from short-lived intermediate states is suppressed. Instead, using a quantum master equation treatment, we show that multilevel and multiatom coherence effects can be exploited to achieve much larger interactions for a given residual decay rate. In contrast to previous studies it becomes possible to reach the regime where coherence times exceed motional timescales. We eagerly await and are working towards observing these predicted effects in our experiments on potassium.

S. Helmrich, A. Arias, N. Pehoviak, S. Whitlock, Two-body interactions and decay of three-level Rydberg-dressed atoms, J. Phys. B 49, 03LT02 (2016), or see our full list of publications