The dipole blockade effect at laser excitation of mesoscopic ensembles of Rydberg atoms lies in the fact that the excitation of one atom to a Rydberg state blocks the excitation of other atoms due to the shift in the collective energy levels of interacting Rydberg atoms. It is used to obtain the entangled qubit states based on single neutral atoms in optical traps. In this paper, we present our experimental results on the observation of the dipole blockade for mesoscopic ensembles of 1–5 atoms when they are detected by the selective field ionization method. We have investigated the spectra of the three-photon laser excitation 5S1/2 → 5P3/2 → 6S1/2 → nP3/2 of cold Rydberg Rb atoms in a magneto-optical trap. We have found that for mesoscopic ensembles this method allows only a partial dipole blockage to be observed. This is most likely related to the presence of parasitic electric fields reducing the interaction energy of Rydberg atoms, the decrease in the probability of detecting high states, and the strong angular dependence of the interaction energy of Rydberg atoms in a single interaction volume.
- MESOSCOPIC ENSEMBLES
- LASER EXCITATION