Indexed on: 02 Dec '15Published on: 02 Dec '15Published in: Quantum Physics
The excitation dynamics of a laser-driven Rydberg gas exhibits cooperative effect due to the interatomic Rydberg-Rydberg interaction, but the large many-body system with inhomogeneous Rydberg coupling is hard to be exactly solved or numerically studied by density matrix equations. In this paper, we find that the laser-driven Rydberg gas with most of the atoms being in the ground state can be described by a simplified interaction model resembling the optical Kerr effect if the distance-dependent Rydberg-Rydberg interaction is replaced by an infinite-range coupling. We can then quantitatively study the effect of the quantum fluctuations on the Rydberg excitation with the interatomic correlation involved and analytically calculate the statistical characteristics of the excitation dynamics in the steady state, revealing the quantum signature of the driven-dissipative Rydberg gas. The results obtained here will be of great interest for other spin-1/2 systems with spin-spin coupling.