Electric Rydberg-Atom Interferometry

J. E. Palmer, S. D. Hogan
2019 Physical Review Letters  
An electric analogue of the longitudinal Stern-Gerlach matter-wave interferometer has been realized for atoms in Rydberg states with high principal quantum number, n. The experiments were performed with He atoms prepared in coherent superpositions of the n=55 and n=56 circular Rydberg states in zero electric field by a π/2 pulse of resonant microwave radiation. These atoms were subjected to a pulsed inhomogeneous electric field to generate a superposition of momentum states before a π pulse was
more » ... applied to invert the internal states. The same pulsed inhomogeneous electric field was then reapplied for a second time to transform the motional states to have equal momenta before a further π/2 pulse was employed to interrogate the final Rydberg state populations. This Hahn-echo microwave pulse sequence, interspersed with a pair of equivalent inhomogeneous electric field pulses, yielded two spatially separated matter waves. Interferences between these matter waves were observed as oscillations in the final Rydberg state populations as the amplitude of the pulsed electric field gradients was adjusted.
doi:10.1103/physrevlett.122.250404 fatcat:gtrqkas3y5erhcnybut5l62tge