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Title: Light storage and control of photon-photon interactions in a cold Rydberg gas
Author: Maxwell, Daniel Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 5288
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2013
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The effect of strong interatomic interactions on an optical field stored in Rydberg states of a cold atomic gas is investigated. Due to their large dipole moments Rydberg atoms interact very strongly with each other. The strength of these interactions can be significant over length scales of several microns. An effect known as dipole blockade leads to a suppression in the number of Rydberg excitations supported in a medium of finite size. The experiments described in this thesis aim to exploit this effect to create a medium with a non-linear response which occurs at the level of single-photons. A cold atomic cloud is tightly confined such that only a few Rydberg excitations are supported. It is shown that the dipole blockade phenomenon leads to strong photon-photon interactions, resulting in the generation of quantum states of light. A microwave field is used to control the strength and range over which the interactions between the stored optical photons occur. In addition, it is shown that the propagation of the optical field through the medium is non-trivial. Preliminary evidence is presented suggesting that the slow-light group delay in the medium is dependent on the number of propagating photons.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available