Characterizing the local vectorial electric field near an atom chip using Rydberg-state spectroscopy

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N. Cisternas, Julius de Hond, G. Lochead, R.J.C. Spreeuw, H.B. van Linden van den Heuvell, N.J. van Druten


PHYSICAL REVIEW A 96, 013425 (2017)

We use the sensitive response to electric fields of Rydberg atoms to characterize all three vector components of the local electric field close to an atom-chip surface. We measured Stark-Zeeman maps of S and D Rydberg states using an elongated cloud of ultracold Rubidium atoms (T ~2.5 µK) trapped magnetically 100 µm from the chip surface. The spectroscopy of S states yields a calibration for the generated local electric field at the position of the atoms. The values for different components of the field are extracted from the more complex response of D states to the combined electric and magnetic fields. From the analysis we find residual fields in the two uncompensated directions of 0.0 +/- 0.2 V/cm and 1.98 +/- 0.09 V/cm respectively. This method also allows us to extract a value for the relevant field gradient along the long axis of the cloud. The manipulation of electric fields and the magnetic trapping are both done using on-chip wires, making this setup a promising candidate to observe Rydberg-mediated interactions on a chip.