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Physics Colloquium: Rydberg atoms for precision measurement in science and technology (Dr. Georg Raithel, U. of Michigan)

This is a past event.

Friday, February 17, 2023 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm

PG6 - Tech Station, 112
11200 SW 8th ST, PG6 - Tech Station, Miami, Florida 33199

Rydberg atoms for precision measurement in science and technology


Georg Raithel, University of Michigan


Rydberg atoms are highly excited atoms with a tenuously bound valence electron that is sensitive to external fields and other atoms. Due to their large polarizabilities, Rydberg atoms form exotic molecules, are suitable for electromagnetic-field sensing, offer novel approaches to high-precision spectroscopy in modulated optical lattices, and can serve as a platform for fundamental-physics studies. The presentation is focused on Rydberg-atom-based high-precision spectroscopy and matter-wave studies, Rydberg-atom-enabled electrode-free diagnostics of plasma electric and magnetic fields, and progress towards fundamental measurements of atomic constants, such as the Rydberg constant. A proposal for a wave-like dark-matter (DM) search with Rydberg-atom-based microwave detection will be discussed.


As a platform for spectroscopy, we utilize modulated lattices that allow for a variety of microwave and sub-THz transitions via the A-square interaction, which differs from low- and higher-order A-dot-p E1 transitions commonly used elsewhere. The A-square interaction is free of parity selection rules and it is Doppler-free, enabling the aforementioned applications in fundamental and applied research. Modulated lattices serve as a spectroscopy tool to measure the Rydberg constant using lattice-trapped circular-state Rydberg atoms, which have particularly long radiative lifetimes. Our platform for wave-like DM detection via the Primakoff process includes a cavity-QED system, in which Rydberg atoms serve as ultrasensitive single-microwave-photon detectors. In the plasma work, Stark and Zeeman effects of sensor Rydberg atoms embedded in the plasmas allow electrode-free, optical field diagnostics via sensitive spectroscopic tools, which are applied here to investigate cold ion clouds and other plasmas.   




Short Bio


Dr. Raithel received his Diploma and PhD at the University of Munich, where he studied Rydberg atoms in external fields and in high-Q microwave cavities. From 1995 to 1997 he researched as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at NIST. He then became a professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. 28 of his graduate students have received PhD degrees and hold positions in academia, industry and government. His present work includes Rydberg atoms and cold plasmas, cold atomic gases, guided atomic flows and Bose-Einstein condensation, and atom interferometry. Rydberg atoms form exotic molecules and are suitable for field sensing, high-precision spectroscopy, and fundamental-physics studies. Raithel was an Associate Chair of U of M Physics from 2009-2013, Secretary/Treasurer of the DAMOP division of the APS from 2011-2014, and co-founder of Rydberg Technologies Inc. He is a Fellow of the APS, has ~150 peer-reviewed publications, and has presented at many conferences.


Event Type

Academics, Lectures & conferences


Students, Faculty & Staff


Department of Physics


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