Europhys. Lett.
Volume 65, Number 4, February 2004
Page(s) 478 - 484
Section Atomic and molecular physics
Published online 01 February 2004
Europhys. Lett., 65 (4) , pp. 478-484 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10109-0

Rydberg atoms in magnetic quadrupole traps

I. Lesanovsky1, J. Schmiedmayer1 and P. Schmelcher1, 2

1  Physikalisches Institut, Universität Heidelberg Philosophenweg 12, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2  Theoretische Chemie, Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Universität Heidelberg INF 229 - 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

(Received 22 October 2003; accepted in final form 2 December 2003)

We investigate the electronic structure and properties of Rydberg atoms exposed to a magnetic quadrupole field. It is shown that the spatial as well as generalized time-reversal symmetries lead to a two-fold degeneracy of the electronic states in the presence of the external field. A delicate interplay between the Coulomb and magnetic interactions in the inhomogeneous field leads to an unusual weak field splitting of the energy levels as well as complex spatial patterns of the corresponding spin polarization density of individual Rydberg states. Remarkably, the magnetic quadrupole field induces a permanent electric-dipole moment of the atom.

31.15.-p - Calculations and mathematical techniques in atomic and molecular physics (excluding electron correlation calculations).
32.60.+i - Atomic properties and interactions with photons: Zeeman and Stark effects.
33.55.Be - Molecular properties and interactions with photons: Zeeman and Stark effects.

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