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Title: Excited state spatial distributions in a cold strontium gas
Author: Lochead, Graham
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 9718
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available