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Out-of-equilibrium dynamics of cold Rydberg gases in a dissipative environment

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The most recent generation of cold atom experiments uses atoms in Rydberg states to explore many-body phenomena. In this talk I will focus on the non-equilibrium dynamics of such systems where non-trivial behaviour is generated by the competition between coherent laser excitation, dissipation and the strong interaction between Rydberg atoms. I will discuss the relaxation of Rydberg lattice gases, showing that it is hierarchical and strongly correlated. This establishes a connection to kinetically constrained systems that are used in soft condensed matter physics as models for the description of glassy phenomena.

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