Zhimin (Cheryl) Liu and Jiayi (Rose) Lin
Mentor: Michael Noel
Department of Physics

Investigating the Interactions among Ultracold Rubidium Atoms in Rydberg States

Rubidium atoms cooled to a velocity near zero and trapped at a certain location in space can be excited to high lying Rydberg States with a system of tunable diode lasers. These atoms have strong dipole moments, and can exchange energy through the dipole-dipole interaction.

The laser beams from the diode lasers are tuned to the appropriate wavelength and locked with circuits. Lasers operating at 780nm are used to cool and trap atoms in a magneto-optical trap (MOT). Two other diode lasers (766nm, 1265nm), are tuned to excite the Ultracold Rubidium atoms from the 5p3/2 state to the 5d5/2 state, and finally to the np3/2d state (the Rydberg State).

Our laboratory was recently moved so we will focus on rebuilding the previous laser system and MOT in the new laboratory. By the time the entire system is working effectively, we will start to observe the trapped Ultracold Rubidium atoms and to investigate their interactions.