Cold Rydberg atoms and quantum simulators

Rydberg states are formed when atoms are highly excited, so that they are almost ionised. As such, they have large dipole moments and interact strongly over large distances. In collaboration with Calum MacCormick, I have investigated the use of these atomic states to create quantum simulators for polarons and superconductors. The figure shows a schematic of our proposed quantum simulator for unconventional superconductors, published in Physical Review Letters. In the quantum simulator, there are two layers of cold atoms. The optical lattice in the lower layer is set up in such a way that the atoms can vibrate, but not move between lattice sites, representing the vibrations of nuclei known as phonons. The atoms in the upper layer are allowed to move, but have a strong on-site repulsion to represent electrons. Atoms in the two layers interact through the dipole moments to represent the interaction between electrons and phonons. More about our work on quantum simulation of electron-phonon interactions can be found in the following papers.

Jim Hague is a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the Open University in the UK. His main research interest is many body physics (both quantum and classical). He works on problems in biophysics, condensed matter theory and cold atoms. Jim teaches a wide range of physics topics, including relativity theory, electromagnetism and quantum physics.
If you are interested in doing a PhD in this area, please consult the Department of Physical Sciences website.

These pages are the personal responsibility of J.P.Hague. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Open University. The University takes no responsibility for any material on these pages. Last update 18th August 2015.