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Coulomb anti-blockade in a Rydberg gas

Bounds, A.D.; Jackson, N.C.; Hanley, R.K.; Bridge, E.M.; Huillery, P.; Jones, M.P.A.

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N.C. Jackson

R.K. Hanley

E.M. Bridge

P. Huillery


We perform a comprehensive investigation of the coupling between a Rydberg-dressed atomic gas and an ultra-cold plasma. Using simultaneous time-resolved measurements of both neutral atoms and ions, we show that plasma formation occurs via a Coulomb anti-blockade mechanism, in which background ions DC Stark shift nearby atoms into resonance at specific distances. The result is a highly correlated growth of the Rydberg population that shares some similarities with that previously observed for van der Waals interactions. We show that a rate equation model that couples the laser-driven Rydberg gas to the ultra-cold plasma via a Coulomb anti-blockade mechanism accurately reproduces both the plasma formation and its subsequent decay. Using long-lived high angular momentum states as a probe, we also find evidence of a crossover from Coulomb anti-blockade to Coulomb blockade at high density. As well as shedding light on loss mechanisms in Rydberg-dressed gases, our results open new ways to create low-entropy states in ultra-cold plasmas.


Bounds, A., Jackson, N., Hanley, R., Bridge, E., Huillery, P., & Jones, M. (2019). Coulomb anti-blockade in a Rydberg gas. New Journal of Physics, 21(5), Article 053026.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 24, 2019
Online Publication Date May 22, 2019
Publication Date May 31, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 24, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 24, 2019
Journal New Journal of Physics
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 5
Article Number 053026
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Copyright Statement
Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

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