Atomic Physics 2017

Scientific Report

This year’s workshop was special since it hosted as a focus the status workshop of the DFG SPP 1929 GiRyd priority program which brought two unusual circumstances with it: (i) A number of slots were devoted to present progress in the projects. For this reason additional international speakers were invited in part of the general workshop in the field of the focus. (ii) Due to the structure of the SPP an unusual large number of young investigators attended the meeting. Among them there is considerable interest to gain insight into machine learning. Therefore, we organized in the general part of the workshop a tutorial on machine learning (given by Dr. Stehphan Bialonski on Thursday evening) followed by a session on applications of different machine learning techniques in AMO physics on Friday morning. The focus part of the workshop (Monday to Wednesday) we describe in the following in more detail.

Theme of the focus workshop

The combination of ultra-cold atoms and high-resolution laser spectroscopy of Rydberg atoms has enabled the observation of very strong interactions between Rydberg atoms, the so-called Rydberg Blockade. Triggered by this milestone a new research field emerged which is branching out from atomic physics to molecular physics, physical chemistry, many-body physics, quantum information processing, quantum simulation, quantum optics, and semiconductor physics as well as surface physics and sensor applications. These topics are explored under the umbrella of the DFG priority program SPP 1929 “Giant Interactions in Rydberg Systems” (GiRyd) established in 2016.
The annual GiRyd Status Workshop featured talks from all current GiRyd project groups as well as a number of invited international speakers.
The workshop program was designed to bring members of the wide-spread Rydberg community together for networking, discussion and the exchange of up-to-date results and development of new projects. An additional half-day workshop was aimed specifically at young researchers on PhD level in GiRyd projects.


A total of 140 delegates participated in the workshop. A majority of them is involved as scientific staff or PIs in active or associate GiRyd research projects. Next to the principal investigators of all GiRyd projects (see a number of distinguished invited speakers presented talks:
• Hannes Bernien (Harvard University, USA)
• Michel Brune (CNRS, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, France)
• Matthew Jones (Durham University, UK)
• Tom Killian (Rice University, USA)
• Thierry Lahaye (CNRS, Laboratoire Charles Fabry, France)
• Frederik Merkt (ETH Zürich, Switzerland)
• Hossein Sadeghpour (Harvard University, USA)
• Richard Schmidt (Harvard University, USA)
• James Shaffer (University of Oklahoma, USA)

General Scientific Outcome and Perspective

When designing the program of the workshop the organizers had the following principal aims in mind:
• to exchange of up-to-date research results in the field of Rydberg physics;
• to discuss new joint projects and collaborations;
• to create coherence and strengthen the network between members of the widespread GiRyd community (22  research groups funded under the DFG priority program SPP 1929 plus numerous associated research groups and scientists from all over Germany);
• to foster the contact between PhD students and PostDocs and leading experts in the field.

The workshop has been highly successful with regards to the above mentioned aims. Among other things numerous exchange projects between GiRyd groups were discussed to be realized in 2018 and a plan for a GiRyd PhD School held in Israel in collaboration with Weizmann Institute of Science was formed (preparations are continuing for the event to take place in late September/early October 2018).

We would like to thank Gabriele Makolies for her excellent organization which made this workshop a full success.