Quantum sensing with Rydberg Schrödinger cat states

Abstract : Rydberg atoms are highly excited states, in which the electron is orbiting far from the nucleus. Their large electric dipole makes them very sensitive to their electromagnetic environment. Using a combination of microwave and radio-frequency fields, we engineer non-classical quantum states specifically designed to exploit at best this sensitivity for electric and magnetic field metrology. In the first part, we prepare non-classical states, similar to Schrödinger cat states, superpositions of two orbitals with very different polarizabilities, that allow us to measure small variations of the static electric field with a sensitivity well beyond the standard quantum limit and close to the fundamental Heisenberg limit. We reach a single atom sensitivity of 30mV/m for a 200ns interrogation time. It makes our system one of the most sensitive electrometers to date. We then implement more complex manipulations of the atom. Using a spin-echo technique taking advantage of the full extent of the Rydberg manifold, we perform a correlation function measurement of the electric field with a MHz bandwidth.In the final part, we prepare a quantum superposition of two circular states with opposite magnetic quantum numbers. It corresponds to an electron rotating at the same time in opposite directions on the same orbit, a rather non-classical situation. The huge difference of magnetic moment between the two components of the superposition, in the order of 100muB, opens the way to the measurement of small variations of the magnetic field with a high bandwidth.
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Eva-Katharina Dietsche. Quantum sensing with Rydberg Schrödinger cat states. Quantum Physics [quant-ph]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066211⟩. ⟨tel-01735459⟩

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