Jul 13 – 15, 2022
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
America/Toronto timezone

Advances in Sensitivity and Pulse Detection with Rydberg-Atom Electrometry

Jul 15, 2022, 1:50 PM
Theatre (Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)


Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics


Stephanie Bohaichuk (Quantum Valley Ideas Laboratories)


The strong interaction of optically excited Rydberg atoms with external fields has made them promising
for the detection of radio frequency (RF) electric fields with high sensitivity. Such Rydberg-atom based
sensors offer advantages over conventional metal antennas in RF transparency and self-calibration, enabled
by all-dielectric construction and extremely well-known atomic properties. In this talk, we describe recent
advances in the sensing of low amplitude RF electric fields and the timing of sub-microsecond RF pulses
using room temperature Cesium vapour cells. We examine their transient response to RF pulses with
durations ranging from 10 μs to 50 ns, identifying the dependence of atomic time scales on Rabi frequencies
and dephasing mechanisms. We present a method for extracting the arrival time of RF pulses in a typical
two-photon setup using a matched filter tailored to the atomic response, achieving a field sensitivity down
to ~240 nV cm-1 Hz-1/2 and a timing precision of ~30 ns. On the other hand, practical operation at room
temperature results in the self-calibration and sensitivity of this setup being limited by residual Doppler
broadening. We therefore develop a novel sub-Doppler approach using a colinear three-photon scheme,
which extends the self-calibrated Autler-Townes regime to significantly weaker RF electric fields. With
this setup, we achieve a ~200 kHz spectral linewidth of the Rydberg atoms’ electromagnetically induced
transparency within a room temperature vapour cell. The results demonstrate the potential of Rydberg atombased sensors for use in test and measurement, communications, and radar applications. "

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