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Realization of Rydberg-dressed quantum magnets
Realization of Rydberg-dressed quantum magnets
Interacting ultracold atomic quantum gases provide an ideal test bed to study strongly correlated quantum matter. The interactions between atoms in such an ultracold quantum gas are typically short-ranged and well described by an effective contact potential. Introducing longer-range interactions promises the realization of novel quantum phases which are absent in systems with only short-range interactions. Trapped atoms, resonantly laser-coupled to highly excited, strongly interacting Rydberg states have been proposed as a versatile platform to realize such long-range interacting quantum matter. In a first experiment presented in this thesis, we combined the single-atom-sensitive local preparation and detection enabled by a quantum gas microscope to prepare and microscopically characterize an ensemble of rubidium-87 atoms trapped in an optical lattice in the regime of strong Rydberg blockade. There, we observe collectively enhanced optical coupling in an effective two-level system, the so-called “superatom”, and infer the presence of entanglement. Detuned optical coupling to Rydberg states, termed “Rydberg dressing”, has been proposed as an alternative approach to induce long-range interactions. Rather than directly exciting an atom to a Rydberg state, the properties of the latter are admixed to a ground state, which consequently acquires long-range interactions. In the context of this thesis, we have designed a laser system in the ultraviolet spectral range to admix Rydberg P-state character to the ground state of atoms in an optical lattice. In an emerging Ising quantum magnet, the presence of Rydberg-dressed interactions was demonstrated by an interferometric technique combined with spatially resolved spin correlation measurements. The theoretically predicted tunability of the isotropy and range of the interaction were confirmed experimentally. While these initial measurements exhibited unexpected dissipation, in a subsequent experiment in a one-dimensional spin chain this dissipation was overcome. We substantiated the improved coherence times by tracking the time evolution of the magnetization upon suddenly switching on interactions and observing coherent collapse and revival dynamics, one of the hallmarks of coherent quantum evolution. Our results establish Rydberg-dressed interactions in ultracold gases and pave the way to realize and study novel exotic quantum phases.
Rydberg dressing, Rydberg superatom, quantum many-body system, quantum gas microscope, spin dynamics
Zeiher, Johannes
2017
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Zeiher, Johannes (2017): Realization of Rydberg-dressed quantum magnets. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics
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Abstract

Interacting ultracold atomic quantum gases provide an ideal test bed to study strongly correlated quantum matter. The interactions between atoms in such an ultracold quantum gas are typically short-ranged and well described by an effective contact potential. Introducing longer-range interactions promises the realization of novel quantum phases which are absent in systems with only short-range interactions. Trapped atoms, resonantly laser-coupled to highly excited, strongly interacting Rydberg states have been proposed as a versatile platform to realize such long-range interacting quantum matter. In a first experiment presented in this thesis, we combined the single-atom-sensitive local preparation and detection enabled by a quantum gas microscope to prepare and microscopically characterize an ensemble of rubidium-87 atoms trapped in an optical lattice in the regime of strong Rydberg blockade. There, we observe collectively enhanced optical coupling in an effective two-level system, the so-called “superatom”, and infer the presence of entanglement. Detuned optical coupling to Rydberg states, termed “Rydberg dressing”, has been proposed as an alternative approach to induce long-range interactions. Rather than directly exciting an atom to a Rydberg state, the properties of the latter are admixed to a ground state, which consequently acquires long-range interactions. In the context of this thesis, we have designed a laser system in the ultraviolet spectral range to admix Rydberg P-state character to the ground state of atoms in an optical lattice. In an emerging Ising quantum magnet, the presence of Rydberg-dressed interactions was demonstrated by an interferometric technique combined with spatially resolved spin correlation measurements. The theoretically predicted tunability of the isotropy and range of the interaction were confirmed experimentally. While these initial measurements exhibited unexpected dissipation, in a subsequent experiment in a one-dimensional spin chain this dissipation was overcome. We substantiated the improved coherence times by tracking the time evolution of the magnetization upon suddenly switching on interactions and observing coherent collapse and revival dynamics, one of the hallmarks of coherent quantum evolution. Our results establish Rydberg-dressed interactions in ultracold gases and pave the way to realize and study novel exotic quantum phases.