Strongly correlated growth of Rydberg aggregates in a vapor cell
Urvoy, A. and Ripka, F. and Lesanovsky, Igor and Booth, D. and Shaffer, J.P. and Pfau, T. and Löw, R. (2015) Strongly correlated growth of Rydberg aggregates in a vapor cell. Physical Review Letters, 114 . 203002/1-203002/9. ISSN 1079-7114
The observation of strongly interacting many-body phenomena in atomic gases typically requires ultracold samples. Here we show that the strong interaction potentials between Rydberg atoms enable the observation of many-body effects in an atomic vapor, even at room temperature. We excite Rydberg atoms in cesium vapor and observe in real-time an out-of-equilibrium excitation dynamics that is consistent with an aggregation mechanism. The experimental observations show qualitative and quantitative agreement with a microscopic theoretical model. Numerical simulations reveal that the strongly correlated growth of the emerging aggregates is reminiscent of soft-matter type systems.
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