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Physics  2006 

Simultaneous position and state measurement of Rydberg atoms

DOI: 10.1140/epjd/e2006-00140-1

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We present a technique for state-selective position detection of cold Rydberg atoms. Ground state Rb atoms in a magneto-optical trap are excited to a Rydberg state and are subsequently ionized with a tailored electric field pulse. This pulse selectively ionizes only atoms in e.g. the 54d state and not in the 53d state. The released electrons are detected after a slow flight towards a micro channel plate. From the time of flight of the electrons the position of the atoms is deduced. The state selectivity is about 20:1 when comparing 54d with 53d and the one-dimensional position resolution ranges from 6 to 40 $\mu$m over a range of 300 $\mu$m. This state selectivity and position resolution are sufficient to allow for the observation of coherent quantum excitation transport.


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