5th Institute of Physics

Many-Body Physics with Circular Rydberg Atom Arrays

This project is dedicated to achieve control over ensembles of laser-cooled and trapped circular Rydberg atoms for applications in quantum many-body physics. To this end, we aim to control the interacting many-body system at the level of individual atoms.

The project

Laser-cooled Rydberg atoms have emerged as fascinating quantum objects with a multitude of applications in quantum science ranging from many-body physics over precision sensing to molecular physics and chemistry. Specifically, their extreme mutual interactions make them pristine candidates to study interacting quantum many-body systems in experimental settings where the atomic ensemble can be controlled and read out at the level of individual atoms.

Arrays of circular Rydberg atoms (c)
Circular Rydberg atoms trapped in flexible optical micro-trap arrays will be exploited to realize interacting quantum spin systems with extreme coherence properties.

So far, experiments have exploited Rydberg atoms for which the electron is prepared in orbitals with small angular momentum L. In this project, we aim to achieve control over Rydberg many-body systems in quantum states with the maximum angular momentum allowed by quantum mechanics, so called circular Rydberg states. Circular Rydberg states allow to achieve orders of magnitude longer quantum state lifetimes and thus promise exciting means to strongly boost coherence times for Rydberg-based quantum simulation platforms.

Individual control over these peculiar objects has already allowed for Nobel prize winning experiments on the fundamental quantum nature of light performed in atomic beam experiments. Here, we aim to extend this control to laser-cooled circular Rydberg atoms trapped in flexible optical micro-trap arrays. To this end, we will develop novel tools to create and control high-n interacting circular Rydberg atoms at the level of individual particles. With this at hand, we are specifically interested to exploit their exaggerated coherence properties for investigating many-body physics far from equilibrium and to study anomalous excitation dynamics and transport in extended quantum spin arrays.

Project Publications

  1. 2020

    1. F. Meinert, C. Hölzl, M. A. Nebioglu, D, P. Karl, M. Dressel, M. Scheffler, Indium tin oxide films meet circular Rydberg atoms: Prospects for novel quantum simulation schemes, Phys. Rev. Research 2, 023192 (2020).
    2. K. Jachymski, F. Meinert, Vibrational Quenching of Weakly Bound Cold Molecular Ions Immersed in Their Parent Gas, applied sciences 10, 2371 (2020).
    3. M. Deiß, S. Haze, J. Wolf, L. Wang, F. Meinert, C. Fey, F. Hummel, P. Schmelcher, J. Hecker Denschlag, Observation of spin-orbit-dependent electron scattering using long-range Rydberg molecules, Phys. Rev. Research 2, 013047 (2020).
  2. 2019

    1. F. Engel, T. Dieterle, F. Hummel, C. Fey, P. Schmelcher, R. Löw, T. Pfau, F. Meinert, Precision Spectroscopy of Negative-Ion Resonances in Ultralong-Range Rydberg Molecules, Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 073003 (2019).

We are looking for motivated new team members!

If you are interested in a master or bachelor thesis project in our team do not hesitate to contact us.

Current open projects

Project Team


Florian Meinert

Florian Meinert

Group Leader

To the top of the page