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Durham e-Theses
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Excited state spatial distributions in a cold strontium gas

LOCHEAD, GRAHAM (2012) Excited state spatial distributions in a cold strontium gas. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis describes the development of a new technique for measuring the spatial distribution of Rydberg atoms in a cold strontium gas. Strontium atoms are cooled and trapped in a magneto-optical trap and coherently excited to Rydberg states in a two-photon, three-level ladder scheme. Several methods of stabilizing the frequency to the cooling transition are discussed and characterized. A frequency stabilization scheme based on electromagnetically-induced transparency for the second laser required for Rydberg excitation is also explained. The Rydberg population dynamics are studied experimentally and modeled using an optical Bloch equation simulation.

The divalent nature of strontium allows doubly excited “autoionizing” states to be accessed using resonant optical excitation. These states ionize in subnanosecond timescales, with the ions recorded on a micro-channel plate being proportional to the amount of Rydberg atoms. Translation of an autoionizing laser focused to a waist of 10 μm gives a spatially resolved Rydberg signal. A two-dimensional map of the Rydberg spatial distribution has been made using this autoionizing microscopy technique.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Physics, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Jan 2013 10:14

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