## Time dependence of the number of Rydberg excitations 〈*n*_{R}〉 of *N* = 12, 21, 37 atoms in the volume of size d = (1,sqrt{2},2)d_{mathrm{b}}, (a), (b), (c), respectively

**Figure 2.** Time dependence of the number of Rydberg excitations 〈*n*_{R}〉 of *N* = 12, 21, 37 atoms in the volume of size d = (1,\sqrt{2},2)d_{\mathrm{b}}, (a), (b), (c), respectively. The inset in each graph shows the Kolmogorov distance *D _{p}* between the probability distributions

*p*

_{{σ}}(

*t*) of configurations of Rydberg excitations of the system at different times

*t*and

*p*

_{{σ}}(

**∞**) in the steady state.

**Abstract**

We study resonant optical excitations of strongly interacting Rydberg states of atoms in the presence of relaxations. We employ the quantum stochastic (Monte Carlo) wavefunctions to simulate the dissipative dynamics of tens of atoms in two-dimensional lattices. We show that under typical experimental conditions involving the slow Rydberg state decay and sizable relaxation of atomic coherences, on the timescale of several μs the atomic ensemble approaches a stationary state in which much of the quantum correlations between the atoms have decayed away. The steady state, however, exhibits strong classical correlations of Rydberg excitation probabilities.