Items tagged with "Rydberg"
Photons—the quantum particles of light—normally don’t have any sense of personal space. A laser crams tons of photons into a tight beam, and they couldn’t care less that they are packed on top of each other. Two beams can even pass through each other without noticing.
The behavior of a few rubidium atoms in a cloud of 40,000 hardly seems important. But a handful of the tiny particles with the wrong energy may cause a cascade of effects that could impact future quantum computers.
Some proposals for quantum devices use Rydberg atoms—atoms with highly excited electrons that roam far from the nucleus—because they interact strongly with each other and offer easy handles for controlling their individual and collective behavior. Rubidium is one of the most popular elements for experimenting with Rydberg physics.
From NIST TechBeat--It’s not lightsaber time, not yet. But a team including theoretical physicists from JQI and NIST has taken another step toward building objects out of photons, and the findings hint that weightless particles of light can be joined into a sort of “molecule” with its own peculiar force. Researchers show that two photons, depicted in this artist’s conception as waves (left and right), can be locked together at a short distance.
Rydberg atoms, atoms whose outermost electrons are highly excited but not ionized, might be just the thing for processing quantum information. These outsized atoms can be sustained for a long time in a quantum superposition condition---a good thing for creating qubits---and they can interact strongly with other such atoms, making them useful for devising the kind of logic gates needed to process information. Scientists at JQI and at other labs are pursuing this promising research area.