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Many-body physics with cold Rydberg gases

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By transiently exciting cold atoms to Rydberg states, it is possible to switch the strength of the interatomic interactions by twelve orders of magnitude. These strong, long range interactions enable the study of quantum and classical many-body physics. In this talk I will report on recent experimental results from our group in Durham, where we have created a cold Rydberg gas of divalent strontium atoms. We show that the inner valence electron can be used to probe the interactions, which are mediated by the outer Rydberg electron. We also describe how this extra electron can be used to probe and manipulate the cold Rydberg gas to investigate the physics of strongly correlated quantum systems.

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