Ultra-cold Rydberg atoms, atoms in highly excited states, cooled to near absolute zero, could hold the secret to quantum computing using neutral atoms. However, to use them optimally, we need to prolong the coherence that causes their quantum effects. State mixing is a process where atoms resonantly exchange energy and mix into shared states during laser excitation, which occurs through either two-body or three-body processes. Using Ramsey Interferometry, where our previously single excitation pulse is split into two pulses which interfere with one another, we can rapidly vary the probability of exciting two-body vs. three-body states, demonstrating coherent effects for the duration of the pulses. For my summer project, I focused on the factors that affect how long these shared states can be excited in order to create more robust quantum effects, vital for computing and other applications. I also explored potential vacuum upgrades in the upcoming year, allowing for a higher degree of control over our experimental set-up.
Hirsch, Emily and Reinhard, Aaron, "Exciting Three-Body Rydberg States With Ramsey Interferometry" (2022). Kenyon Summer Science Scholars Program. Paper 585.