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Intrinsic Optical Bistability in a Strongly-Driven Rydberg Ensemble

de Melo, Natalia R.; Wade, Christopher G.; Šibalić, Nikola; Kondo, Jorge M.; Adams, Charles S.; Weatherill, Kevin J.

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Natalia R. de Melo

Christopher G. Wade

Nikola Šibalić

Jorge M. Kondo

Charles S. Adams


We observe and characterize intrinsic optical bistability in a dilute Rydberg vapor. The bistability is characterized by sharp jumps between states of low and high Rydberg occupancy with jump-up and -down positions displaying hysteresis depending on the direction in which the control parameter is changed. We find that the shift in frequency of the jump point scales with the fourth power of the principal quantum number. Also, the width of the hysteresis window increases with increasing principal quantum number, before reaching a peak and then closing again. The experimental results are consistent with predictions from a simple theoretical model based on semiclassical Maxwell–Bloch equations including the effects of interaction-induced broadening and level shifts. These results provide insight into the dynamics of driven dissipative systems.


de Melo, N. R., Wade, C. G., Šibalić, N., Kondo, J. M., Adams, C. S., & Weatherill, K. J. (2016). Intrinsic Optical Bistability in a Strongly-Driven Rydberg Ensemble. Physical Review A, 93(6), Article 063863.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 30, 2016
Publication Date Jun 30, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 2, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2016
Journal Physical Review A
Print ISSN 2469-9926
Electronic ISSN 2469-9934
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 93
Issue 6
Article Number 063863
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Copyright Statement
This article is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.

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