Creating and Detecting Shaped Rydberg Wave Packets


Inherently quantum mechanical, transient nanostructures with dynamics on a picosecond time scale can be produced by controlling the quantum dynamics of Rydberg electrons. Ultrashort, tailored light pulses are used to build structures in position and/or momentum space from the wave function of an electron. The optimal laser pulses required to make these structures can be computed and synthesized in the laboratory. As an example, we present a structure consisting of five peaks which acts as a time-dependent grating and can be detected via ultrafast extreme ultraviolet diffraction.

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