Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Rydberg atoms, Rydberg molecules

Major Advisor

Susanne Yelin

Associate Advisor

Robin Cote

Associate Advisor

Phillip Gould

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Collisions involving Rydberg atoms reveal detailed information on the state of a background medium and can be used as diagnostic probes of temperature and density distributions in a neutral or ionized gas. Spectroscopy of Rydberg atoms in highly excited states reveals the interaction of the Rydberg electron with core electrons, including relativistic effects, and can be used for precise determination of fundamental constants. The advent of ultracold trapping and cooling methods in the last three decades has ushered in a new paradigm in Rydberg physics control and manipulation. The concept of the Rydberg blockade, for instance, al- lows for precise control of long-range dipolar interaction between atoms, creation of correlated many-body wave functions, and realization of macroscopic quantum entanglement and quan- tum logic operations. The formation of a new class of Rydberg molecules arising from ground and Rydberg atom collisions can be used to manipulate electron-atom scattering phase shifts, form and manipulate molecules with enormous permanent electric dipole moments, study Ry- dberg chemistry at the ultracold, and realize macroscopic quantum polaronic systems. In this thesis, I will investigate charge transfer from covalent ground-Rydberg collisions to form heavy ion pair states. In another related study, I explore the formation of spin-mixed ultralong range Rydberg molecules, by accounting for spin-dependent relativistic fine and hyperfine interac- tion. Such studies help to not only explain experimental observations, but also point to how molecular reactions can be controlled using small electric or magnetic fields.