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Lecture 3: Ultracold Rydberg chemistry and how to excite Rydberg atoms in a microscopic glass box.


I will discuss how quantum chemistry in the ultracold world allows for novel binding mechanisms. The recently observed of ultralong-range Rydberg molecules (dimers and trimers) are based on quantum scattering of Rydberg electrons from polarizable ground state atoms. Furthermore, we show calculations that reproduce the observed binding energies remarkably well and reveal that some of the excited states are purely bound by quantum reflection at a shape resonance for p-wave scattering. Finally as an outlook on how long range interactions between neutral atoms could actually lead to practical quantum devices like single photon sources I report on our effort to observe the Rydberg blockade in micron sized thermal vapor cells.