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Title: First observations of Rydberg blockade in a frozen gas of divalent atoms
Author: Boddy, Danielle
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 7845
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis details the first measurements of Rydberg dipole blockade in a cold ensemble of divalent atoms. 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. Owing to the divalent nature of strontium, one electron can be excited to the Rydberg state, whilst the other lower-lying electron is available to undergo resonant optical excitation to autoionising states, which ionise in sub-nanosecond timescales. The remaining ions that are recorded on a micro-channel plate are proportional to the number of Rydberg atoms. The development of a narrow linewidth laser system necessary for an additional stage of cooling is explained and characterised. Two frequency stabilisation schemes are discussed: one to address the short-term laser frequency instabilities based on the Pound-Drever-Hall technique; the other to address the long-term laser frequency instabilities based on Lamb-dip spectroscopy in an atomic beam. The cooling dynamics on the narrow cooling transition is studied experimentally and modelled via theoretical simulations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available