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ics Colloquium
Friday, November 13, 2009
4:00 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special time.
Tom Gallagher [Host: Seunghun Lee]
University of Virginia
"Nondispersing Rydberg Wavepackets"
 Slideshow (PDF)
As first pointed out by Schrodinger, it is possible to make a "classical" atom, one in which the electron moves in an orbit around the nucleus, by creating superpositions of stationary quantum eigenstates. In quantum terms the probability has a moving spatial maximum. The idea lay dormant until the mode locked laser allowed the creation of atomic (and molecular) wavepackets. Such wavepackets usually disperse, that is, they lose their spatial localization after a few orbits. Dispersion can be prevented by applying an weak microwave field at the orbital frequency. The microwave field phase locks the electron's orbital motion, and by altering the microwave field it is possible to alter the electron's orbit. For example, increasing or decreasing the microwave frequency increases the orbital frequency, and changing the microwave polarization from linear to circular produces a circular orbit.

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