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The dipole-dipole interaction among ultracold Rydberg atoms is simulated. We examine a general interaction scheme in which two atoms excited to the x and x states are converted to y and y states via a Förster resonance. The atoms are arranged in two spatially separated groups, each consisting of only one species of atom. We monitor the state mixing by recording the fraction of atoms excited to the y state as the distance between the two groups is varied. With zero detuning a many-body effect that relies on always resonant interactions causes the state mixing to have a finite range. When the detuning is greater than zero, another many-body effect causes a peak in the state mixing when the two groups of atoms are some distance away from each other. To obtain these results it is necessary to include multiple atoms and solve the full many-body wave function. These simulation results are supported by recent experimental evidence. These many-body effects, combined with appropriate spatial arrangement of the atoms, could be useful in controlling the energy exchange among the atoms.


Originally published in Physical Review A, 80, 052712. Copyright 2009, The American Physical Society.