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Semiclassical theory of Rydberg-wave-packet interferometry

Mark Mallalieu and C. R. Stroud, Jr.

Phys. Rev. A 51, 1827 (1995).

A semiclassical approximation is derived from the autocorrelation function describing the excitation and detection of Rydberg wave packets by pairs of phase-locked laser pulses. The resulting expression is in terms of a sum over Kepler trajectories, and provides a direct explanation of the periodicity and spreading of the wave packet at short times when the evolution is classical. More surprisingly, this solution also provides an accurate description of the complex revival behavior of the wave packets, which is nonclassical. The phases of the wave packets, which are detected by the pulse-locking scheme, are also accurately given by analytical expressions derived from the semiclassical sum. The phase of the wave packets at short times have a simple interpretation as the phases of Bohr-Sommerfeld, and are related to Berry's phase. The semiclassical expression for the phases of the nonclassical revival wave packets is simpler than the corresponding quantal solution.

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