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Title: Atom-surface interactions with Rydberg atoms : an application to hybrid systems
Author: Ribeiro, Sofia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5565 5485
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis focuses on theoretical quantum optics, with special emphasis on developing protocols in which engineered vacuum forces enable one to construct hybrid systems. In these systems, atoms are combined with solid-state devices in order to take advantage of their unique properties such as long coherence times of atoms and flexibility, tunability, scalability, and fast response offered by solid-state systems. Special attention is given to the study of atom-surface interactions with Rydberg atoms, where exact Fano-type diagonalization of the interaction Hamiltonian is obtained showing that, not only do Rydberg atoms suffer energy shifts, the presence of a surface leads to an alteration and admixture of the unperturbed eigenstates. Of particular interest are dispersion forces on graphene systems. We investigate whether and under which circumstances the Casimir-Polder potential between an atom and a graphene-substrate system is dominated by the interaction with graphene such that the effect of the substrate does not play an important role. We also explore the possibility to create a setup where dispersion forces could be use to bend a graphene sheet. Placing an atom close, at distances of a few hundred nanometers, to a free-standing graphene membrane we show that temporal changes in the atomic state change the Casimir-Polder interaction, thereby leading to the creation of a backaction force in the graphene sheet. Finally, we look at nonlinear atom--surface coupling processes with the aim of proposing a hybrid quantum circuit device in which individual field-excitations can be transferred between atoms and surface polaritons on demand. Deeper investigations of nonlinear processes reveal the existence of a sum rule for two-photon spontaneous decay rates that can be simply understood as a redistribution of photonic modes across the frequency spectrum where the total integrated number of modes is still conserved.
Supervisor: Kim, Myungshik; Scheel, Stefan Sponsor: Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral