Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




William E Cooke


We present the technique and results of our study of the redistribution of Rydberg states in barium by a half cycle pulse (HCP). A survey of previous research concerning the interaction of half cycle pulses with Rydberg atoms reveals a lack of experimental data in the area of state redistribution. This is primarily due to an inability to identify the redistributed states accurately using the currently available tool: selective field ionization (SFI). We present the limitations of SFI as a state identification tool. We then present a survey of isolated core excitation as a state identification tool, along with its limitations in dealing with a mixture of states. Combining SFI and ICE overcomes these limitations and allows for the accurate characterization of a mixture of Rydberg states, as found in HCP redistribution. We present our results for the HCP redistribution of a series of ns and nd initial states, for n from 30 to 40, at various HCP intensities. These results primarily involved single photon transitions, confining us to the linear regime. Analyzing the results of these redistributions with respect to the energy difference between initial and final states yielded information about the frequency structure, after transmission to the interaction region, of the HCP. This led us to postulate on the effects of diffraction on the HCP. We conclude with several suggestions for the improvement of the experimental system, as well as a direction for future research.



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