Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

James Keller

Abstract

A Rydberg gas of nitric oxide evolves to ultracold plasma and reaches states of strong coupling in a process that quenches electron temperature and spreads population randomly over a wide, well-defined distribution of binding energies. We explore techniques to alter the quantum framework of this system of Rydberg molecules evolving to, and embedded in, ultracold plasma using millimeter-wave and radio frequency (rf) fields. First, mm-wave-driven Rydberg-Rydberg transitions dramatically increase the intensity of Rydberg population in selective field ionization and pulsed field ionization spectra, and also the signal collected after complete avalanche to plasma. We then employ radio frequencies to effect oscillations of electrons in the plasma. We find that resonant rf fields are capable of impairing the otherwise stable plasma state and impacting the Rydberg population indirectly, through the surrounding plasma. Millimeter-wave and radio frequencies represent promising methodologies to explore Rydberg states as quantum reporters to the ultracold plasma environment. This thesis lays the foundations to further control and probe the quantum mechanical properties of molecular ultracold plasmas.

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