Articles written in Pramana – Journal of Physics

    • High-sensitivity measurement of Rydberg population via two-photon excitation in atomic vapour using optical heterodyne detection technique


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      We demonstrate a technique based on optical heterodyne detection to measure the Rydberg population in the thermal atomic vapour. The technique used a probe beam far off-resonant to the D2 line of rubidium along with a reference beam with frequency offset by 800 MHz in the presence of a coupling laser that couples to Rydberg state via two-photon resonance. The polarisation of the probe, reference and coupling beams are suitably chosen such that only the probe beam goes through a nonlinear phase shift due to the two-photon process which is measured relative to the phase shift of the reference beam using optical heterodyne detection technique. We show that the technique has a sensitivity to measure the minimum phase shift of the order of a few $\mu$rad. We have used a suitable model of two-photon excitation of a three-level atom to show that the minimum phase shift measured in our experiment corresponds to the Rydberg population of the order of $10^{−5}$. The corresponding probe absorption for the given laser parameters is of the order of $10^{−7}$. We demonstrate that this technique is insensitive to polarisation impurity or fluctuations in the beams. The technique is particularly useful in measuring the Rydberg population via two-photon excitation in thermal vapour where microchannel plates (MCP) could be relatively difficult to implement. It can also be used in the ultracold atomic sample with suitable laser parameters.

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