Submission Date


Document Type



Physics & Astronomy

Faculty Mentor

Thomas Carroll


Presented during the 19th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 21, 2017 at Ursinus College.

Supported by a National Science Foundation grant (PHY-1607335).

Project Description

A Rydberg atom has a highly excited valence electron which is weakly bound and far from the nucleus. These atoms have exaggerated properties that make them attractive candidates for quantum computation and studies of fundamental quantum mechanics. The discrete energy levels of Rydberg atoms are shifted in the presence of an electric field by the Stark effect and are similarly shifted due to a magnetic field by the Zeeman effect. These effects couple the energy levels together, creating avoiding crossings. At these avoided crossings, an electron in one energy level can jump to the other.

Our goal is to be able to use these avoided crossings to put the electron in a superposition state of both energy levels. In order to achieve this we created new software that enables us to calculate the energy levels of an electron in both a magnetic and an electric field. We present energy level maps visualizing the results of the Stark and Zeeman effects.

Included in

Physics Commons