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Journal Article

Direct observation of ultrafast many-body electron dynamics in an ultracold Rydberg gas

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Takei, N., Sommer, C., Genes, C., Pupillo, G., Goto, H., Koyasu, K., et al. (2016). Direct observation of ultrafast many-body electron dynamics in an ultracold Rydberg gas. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 7: 13449. doi:10.1038/ncomms13449.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-BBF1-C
Many-body correlations govern a variety of important quantum phenomena such as the emergence of superconductivity and magnetism. Understanding quantum many-body systems is thus one of the central goals of modern sciences. Here we demonstrate an experimental approach towards this goal by utilizing an ultracold Rydberg gas generated with a broadband picosecond laser pulse. We follow the ultrafast evolution of its electronic coherence by time-domain Ramsey interferometry with attosecond precision. The observed electronic coherence shows an ultrafast oscillation with a period of 1 femtosecond, whose phase shift on the attosecond timescale is consistent with many-body correlations among Rydberg atoms beyond mean-field approximations. This coherent and ultrafast many-body dynamics is actively controlled by tuning the orbital size and population of the Rydberg state, as well as the mean atomic distance. Our approach will offer a versatile platform to observe and manipulate non-equilibrium dynamics of quantum many-body systems on the ultrafast timescale.