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17 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 153.
Title Rydberg atoms on a lattice (RYD)
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Dr. R.J.C. Spreeuw
Duration 2014-2019
Cost estimate M€ 1.5

The objective
In this programme we combine ultra-cold Rydberg atoms with ordered (lattice) structures. The main objective is to develop this powerful combination into a scalable platform for quantum information science and quantum simulation, and to create and study many-particle entangle­ment and strongly interacting many-body quantum states.

Background, relevance and implementation
This programme combines two hot topics in modern atomic physics: lattices of ultra-cold atoms and interacting Rydberg atoms. Lattices of ultra-cold ground-state atoms have already been used successfully as quantum simulators to realize model Hamiltonians underlying fundamental condensed matter phenomena. A limitation of ground-state atoms however, is that they interact only weakly at optically resolved distances. By contrast, Rydberg atoms interact much more strongly by many orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the interaction can be controlled and tuned to such an extent that they become an ideal model system to study many-body physics and collective quantum phenomena. Rydberg atoms have attracted attention as flexible physical systems upon which quantum simulators can be based. While theoretical ideas abound, experimental work is quickly picking up momentum. Experimental work on the powerful combination of Rydberg atoms with lattices has been very limited so far.

By combining lattices with Rydberg atoms, in this programme we aim to develop a scalable platform for quantum simulation and quantum information science.

This programme brings together the complementary expertise of two research groups, at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e).

Rydberg atoms will be excited in one- and two-dimensional lattices of neutral atoms trapped on atom chips. Thus we aim to generate and study entanglement and strongly correlated many-body states. Rydberg lattices will also be imprinted optically by patterned excitation lasers, yielding quantum simulators of effective spin models. In addition, the theory effort will play a unifying role by providing overarching support and guidance to all experiments, as well as explore opportunities for future experiments.

The final evaluation will be based on the self-evaluation report initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2019.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.