"Rydberg atoms with high principal quantum numbers have a number of properties that make them suitable for quantum devices such as single photon sources, quantum gates and memories. Scalable single photon sources can potentially be realized by the confinement of the atoms on a scale smaller than the Rydberg blockade radius. While so far, experimental progress has been limited to complex experimental setups that use ultracold atoms, very recently it has been demonstrated that thermal vapor microcells for alkali atoms can be a technologically interesting alternative, due to the relative simplicity of maintaining and regenerating the sample, the collective enhancement of the laser matter dynamics and the scalability using current LCD technology. The large polarizability of Rydberg atoms, responsible of this huge number of properties, also leads to a strong interaction with nearby walls and electric fields which reduces significantly the lifetime of the states for collective coherent dynamics.
The aim of this project is to study the Rydberg atom- surface interaction at finite temperature regarding the coherence properties of this quantum system. The dependence of the coherence times on the surface corrugation, surface material and coatings (metallic layers, Indium tin oxide, paraffin, silanes, RbH) and surface temperature will be studied in a microcell environment by electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT).
In parallel, we plan to use a four wave mixing configuration to build the first single photon source based on the Rydberg blockade effect and to characterize this source in terms of fidelity and scalability.
This project, between atomic and condensed matter physics, is at the forefront of research in quantum information processing and will therefore contribute to the European excellence and competitiveness and will also highly improve my experimental and theoretical knowledge, enhancing my prospects of reaching a position of professional maturity."
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