Submission Date


Document Type



Physics & Astronomy

Faculty Mentor

Thomas Carroll

Student Contributor

Jacob Paul

Second Student Contributor

Matan Peleg


Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Supported by National Science Foundation grants (PHY-1205897, 0653544).

Additional support provided through the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (NSF grant no. OCI-1053575).

Project Description

We use a magneto-optical trap to cool rubidium atoms to temperatures in the µK range. On the µs timescales of our experiment, the atoms are moving slowly enough that they appear stationary. We then excite them to a Rydberg state, where the outer electron is loosely bound. In these high energy states, the atoms can exchange energy with each other. Since the energy exchange depends on the separation and the relative orientation of the atoms, we can potentially control their interactions by controlling the spatial arrangements of the atoms. We model this system using simulations on a supercomputer and look for opportunities to control the energy exchange by manipulating the geometry. We present results that could be applicable for quantum information processing.

Open Access

Available to all.