Rydberg atoms in a 2D optical lattice
Stylized rendering of a contaminant Rydberg atom in a lattice of rubidium. The contaminant atom (center) shifts the energy levels of the surrounding atoms, causing them to transition into a Rydberg state (when highly excited electrons roam far from the nucleus).
March 2016 • JQI • https://jqi.umd.edu/news/rogue-rubidium-leads-atomic-anomaly • Tagged: Illustration
For the press release covering this research, I also made a 4-panel diagram about the contamination process. I'm really not happy with the diagram now (the colors in particular), so didn't include it here.