Author (Your Name)

Roy O. Wilson, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Physics and Astronomy Dept.


Duncan A. Tate

Second Advisor

Charles W.S. Conover


This thesis discusses progress towards achieving external control of the electron temperature and the Coulomb coupling parameter of ultra-cold plasmas. Using a Littman dye laser, we create the plasma by partially photoionizing a dense, cold sample of rubidium atoms in a magneto-optical trap (MOT). At a controllable time delay, we excite neutral atoms in the plasma to a specific Rydberg state using a narrow bandwidth pulsed dye laser. We have made progress towards optimizing and quantifying the achievable Rydberg atom density by using mm-wave spectroscopy to control the evolution of a cold dense Rydberg sample to plasma and have also begun preliminary investigations of plasma electron temperature measurements.


Rydberg states, Electron temperature, Low temperature plasmas