Schematic representation of the proposed Rydberg system
Figure 1. Schematic representation of the proposed Rydberg system.
We introduce an adiabatic theory of Rydberg atoms in which non-Abelian gauge potentials arise. An example is given in which the polarization properties of a complex core lead to emergent gauge potentials that describe a 't Hooft–Polyakov monopole. The latter induces a spin–orbit like interaction through a mechanism called isospin–spin conversion. We briefly review the current status of experimental efforts to detect the resulting Landè-like fine structure splittings. We address the relevance of this phenomenon with recent efforts to dress cold atoms with lasers in order to induce Rashba–Dresselhaus spin–orbit couplings.