Rydberg states of alkali atoms, where the outer valence electron is excited to high principal quantum numbers, have large electric dipole moments allowing them to be used as sensitive, wideband, electric field sensors. These sensors use electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) to measure incident electric fields. The characteristic timescale necessary to establish EIT determines the effective speed at which the atoms respond to time-varying radio frequency (RF) radiation. Previous studies have predicted that this EIT relaxation rate causes a performance rolloff in EIT-based sensors beginning at an RF data symbol rate of less than 10 MHz. Here, we propose an architecture for increasing the response speed of Rydberg sensors to greater than 100 MHz, through spatiotemporal multiplexing (STM) of the probe laser. We present experimental results validating the architecture’s temporal multiplexing component using a pulsed laser. We benchmark a numerical model of the sensor to these experimental data and use the model to predict the STM sensor’s performance as an RF communications receiver. For an on – off keyed waveform, we use the numerical model to predict bit error ratios as a function of RF power and data rates demonstrating the feasibility of error-free communications up to 100 Mb/s with an STM Rydberg sensor.
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