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1 March 2019 Atom-based sensing of microwave electric fields using highly excited atoms: mechanisms affecting sensitivity
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We have shown that Rydberg states can be used for high-sensitivity, absolute sensing of microwave (MW) electric fields. We achieved a sensitivity of 3 μVcm-1Hz-1/2 for two read-out strategies. Depending on the spectral resolution of the read-out, either the MW induced transmission line frequency splitting, the Autler-Townes regime, or a change in the on-resonant absorption, the amplitude regime, can be used to determine the MW electric field. Results using a Mach-Zehnder interferometer and frequency modulated spectroscopy both achieve similar photon shot noise limited sensitivity. In addition, we have also explored amplitude modulation and the displacement of a probe laser beam due to index of refraction changes in a prism shaped vapor cell. These latter methods were not able to achieve photon shot noise limited performance. Fundamental limits to the sensitivity of the Rydberg atom-based MW electric field sensing have been addressed, but it is important to clarify the differences between noise in different parts or subsystems of the sensor. Shot noise in the probe laser usually dominates the projection noise of the atoms participating in the measurement of the MW electric field because of the desire to operate at low effective Rydberg atom densities in order to avoid collisional dephasing and ionization.
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Harald Kübler, James Keaveney, Chang Lui, Jaime Ramirez-Serrano, Hadi Amarloo, Jennifer Erskine, Geoff Gillet, and James P. Shaffer "Atom-based sensing of microwave electric fields using highly excited atoms: mechanisms affecting sensitivity", Proc. SPIE 10934, Optical, Opto-Atomic, and Entanglement-Enhanced Precision Metrology, 1093406 (1 March 2019);

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