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Title: Rydberg spectroscopy and dressing in an ultracold strontium gas
Author: Jackson, Niamh Christina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 2198
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis describes Rydberg spectroscopy and dressing experiments in an ultracold strontium gas. The strontium atoms are cooled to sub-uK temperatures in a narrowline magneto-optical trap, where Rydberg atoms are created using a two-photon excitation scheme. This required the development of a high-power ultraviolet laser system at 319 nm. The laser has a large tuning range for access to triplet Rydberg states from principal quantum numbers of 35 to > 300. By performing Rydberg spectroscopy in a magneto-optical trap, we show that narrow spectra can be obtained where the line centre is determined to ~ 10 kHz. A frequency comb is then employed to make absolute frequency measurements of optical transitions to accuracies of < 2 MHz. Techniques are outlined for improving the accuracy further, showing that overall uncertainties on the order of 10 kHz can be obtained. The reliable measurement of Rydberg levels is important for studying the variation in quantum defect across Rydberg series, and hence improving the accuracy of atomic models. In this work we also develop a novel system in which to realise Rydberg dressing. By resonantly coupling the excited state of the cooling transition to a high lying Rydberg state, we create a Rydberg-dressed magneto-optical trap. We demonstrate that the atoms acquire Rydberg properties, while undergoing continuous cooling at ~ 1 uK. The lifetime of the trap is proved to be sufficiently long to observe interactions, however the interaction strength is currently limited by the non-uniform spatial profile of the dressing beam. Straightforward methods to overcome this limitation are presented. As such this work should lead to future experiments, whereby tuneable long-range interactions can be observed in the dynamics of the dressed magneto-optical trap.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available