Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Physics and Astronomy Dept.


Duncan A. Tate


The goal of this experiment was to observe the effects of variations of experimental conditions on the ultracold plasma that formed as a result. The wavelength and power of the ionizing laser were varied to change the electron temperature and plasma density. The delay between the ionizing laser and the field ionization pulse was changed as well. In each case, plasma evolution and the resulting distribution of Rydberg states were observed. It was found that both electron temperature and plasma density directly affected the plasma lifetimes. However, neither electron temperature nor plasma density nor delay length had an effect on the distribution of the Rydberg states. Future experiments are planned to observe the effects of a prematurely quenched plasma on the distribution of Rydberg states formed.


ultracold, plasma